PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced the Israeli Knesset’s approval of a bill to place Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and to require the approval of 80 Knesset members (out of 120) to return any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.
“Such a law severely changes the status of Jerusalem and creates an illegal and extrajudicial Israeli and Jewish exclusivity over all of Jerusalem — a city whose status remains that of “corpus separatum” under the UN General Assembly Resolution 181,” she said in a statement to the press following a meeting with Italian member of Parliament Lia Quartapelle Procopio in Ramallah.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters that neither the Israeli Knesset law nor the Trump decision is legitimate.
“The Israelis are trying to take advantage of the US decision to destroy everything and this requires a firm Arab, Islamic and international response to put an end to the Israeli roistering action that is leading the region into the abyss.”
Abu Rudeineh said that the forthcoming meeting of the Palestine Central Council in Ramallah on Jan. 14 will take necessary steps to challenge these acts which are aimed at the Palestinian national identity.
Khalil Tufakji, the head of the Arab Studies Society Map department, told Arab News that Israel is moving quickly to cut off any chance for peace. “They are taking concrete steps to change the demographic balance of the area which will result in some 150,000 Palestinians to be stripped of their connections to the Jerusalem municipality.”
Tufakji said that parts of Jerusalem’s Shufat, Kuf Aqab, Bir Onah, Walajeh, Abu Dis, and Ezzarieh will soon enter a state of legal limbo. “We are calling these locations area X in reference to the fact that they will be in some kind of unknown legal limbo.”
Daniel Seidmann, an Israeli lawyer working on issues regarding Jerusalem, told Arab News that these neighborhoods are in fact entering into an uncharted legal territory.
“This law is recognizing that these Palestinian neighborhoods are untenable but they are replacing their status with yet another untenable and unknown legal future.”
Seidmann rejects the idea that the areas beyond the wall are somehow being held in escrow until there are negotiations to settle where they belong.
“The new law doubles down on occupation, makes arriving on an agreement much more difficult and at the same time makes getting rid of 150,000 residents of Jerusalem much easier.”
Back in 1980, Israel had changed its Basic Law to require 61 out of 120 votes to make any legal change in the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, said Seidmann. “Now they need a majority vote without having to cross the 61-member threshold which will make it much easier to redraw the municipal limits of Jerusalem.”
Hanna Issa, a Palestinian who specializes in international law, told Arab News that all Israeli actions since 1967 are null and void according to the international law and UN resolutions.
“Even after passing Israeli laws in the Knesset, these actions regarding Jerusalem including the settlement activities have no place within the international law and signed treaties. Whatever Israeli Knesset passes is null and void.”