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Monday, 08 March 2021

Israel government adopts peace referendum bill

Israel says any agreement which may be reached in negotiations with the Palestinians will be put to a referendum

AFP , Sunday 28 Jul 2013
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The Israeli government approved a bill on Sunday 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. "It is important that on such historic decisions every citizen should vote directly on an issue deciding the country's future."

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

There has so far been no official confirmation.

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

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