Bill calling for Israeli withdrawals only by referendum approved in first reading
Bill calling for Israeli withdrawals only by referendum approved in
Majority of 65 MKs backs motion stating if government, Knesset approve
ceding of Israeli land, decision will be brought to referendum within
180 days. MK Katz: Vote sends clear message to Assad that Israel will
not cede Golan Heights
by Amnon Meranda
Published: 06.30.08, 20:00 / Israel News
A bill stating that a referendum will be held before the ceding of any
land belonging to the State of Israel has been approved in its
preliminary reading by the Knesset on Monday.
The motion was approved with a majority of 65 MKs, and was opposed by
18. According to the bill, if the government approves the ceding of
Israeli land the decision will be brought before the Knesset, and if it
is approved by the Knesset, a referendum will be held within 180 days.
However, should a withdrawal be supported by at least 80 MKs, the matter
will not be brought to a referendum.
The bill refers to areas that Israel has full sovereignty over, such as
the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem. The West Bank does not fall under
MK Yisrael Katz (Likud), head of the Knesset's Golan Heights lobby, said
following the vote "the result is a victory (for MKs who oppose an
Israeli withdrawal from the Golan). The Knesset conveyed a clear message
to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and to (Syrian President Bashar) Assad
that Israel will not cede the Golan."
Knesset House Committee Chairman David Tal (Kadima) said the preliminary
vote was an important step "in preventing Israel from making dangerous
Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On on the other hand said the Knesset was
"attempting to hinder the negotiations on the Golan.
"The Knesset's job is to determine whether we are better off holding on
to the Golan without peace or achieving peace while ceding the Golan,"
she said. "If the Knesset has the authority to approve the annexation of
lands, then it must also hold the authority to reach the opposite