[QODLink]
Middle East

Israel approves peace referendum bill

Government approves bill stating that any peace treaty reached with Palestinians would be put to a referendum.

Last Modified: 28 Jul 2013 12:04
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Right-wing groups have protested against the release of Palestinian prisoners as a step to renew peace talks [Reuters]

The Israeli government has approved a bill to submit any peace treaty with the Palestinians to a referendum, a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said.

"Any agreement which may be reached in negotiations will be put to a referendum," it quoted him as saying on Sunday.

"It is important that on such historic decisions every citizen should vote directly on an issue deciding the country's future."

The decision comes a day after Netanyahu said that Israel would free 104 Palestinian prisoners to coincide with the resumption of long-stalled peace talks.

"I agreed to free 104 Palestinians in stages, after the start of negotiations and according to progress," he wrote on his official Facebook page on Saturday evening.

A Palestinian official told AFP news agency on Saturday that a US-brokered renewal of negotiations, stalled since September 2010, would open in Washington on Tuesday.

There has so far been no official confirmation.

Future Palestinian state

A cabinet briefing paper said the government saw the referendum bill as "urgent and important" and said it would be asking parliament to fast-track its passage into law.

Israeli media said that it could go before the house for a first reading this week.

If adopted, a referendum would be a final endorsement of a treaty after ratification by the government and parliament.

The draft is seen as a gesture to rightwing ministers apprehensive of concessions that could be demanded of Israel in the talks.

It would oblige a referendum in cases where territory over which Israel claims sovereignty is ceded in a peace agreement or by a cabinet decision.

That would include any part of mainly-Arab East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Israel rules out ceding sovereignty over any part of what it calls its "eternal and indivisible capital".

325

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.