source: www.nytimes.com

Israel delays vote again on illegal annexation bill

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Voting on the Israeli annexation Bill has been delayed. Israeli Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu said that the US asked for clarifications about its new bill, which would annex West Bank illegal settlements to Jerusalem. He added that Israel must discuss the bill with the United States before moving forward and voting on it. He said that “The Americans turned to us and inquired what the bill was about. As we have been coordinating with them until now, it is worth talking and coordinating with them. We are working to promote and develop the settlement enterprise.”

A senior figure who wished to remain anonymous stated that Israel’s cabinet will not vote on the bill  this week. He said it was in need of “diplomatic preparation”, in a signal Netanyahu will first discuss it with the White House.

The U.S. State Department signaled that it was not worried by the bill because the legislation is a long way from being approved by the Knesset, and could perhaps never even reach that point.

The White House Spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said during a daily press briefing, “My understanding is that the piece of legislation is in the early stages of development, some of these would be internal matters that I wouldn’t want to comment on. I know that it has to go through several steps before it would even become a law, We continue to encourage both sides to take appropriate actions to ease tensions and build an environment that would support concluding a conflict-ending peace agreement.”

Approval of the bill would have fast tracked it’s progress through parliament. It had received the full support of Netanyahu when it was introduced earlier this week.

The bill has been previously delayed for similar reasons, after its initial introduction in January. This time coincided with the inauguration date of Donald Trump, who has supported Israel’s political agenda.

The mayor of Ma’ale Adumin, the largest  illegal settlement in the West Bank ( the area of the proposed annexation) believes that the legislation will eventually be approved.

According to the bill, the illegal West Bank settlements of Ma’aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar Illit and Givat Ze’ev will be included under Jerusalem’s municipal jurisdiction, but not officially annexed to Israel. It would incorporate a further 150,000 people living in illegal settlements into Israel’s municipal jurisdiction the bill also take out the three Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem the  Kafr Akab, Shuafat and Anata and they will have sub municipalities.

 

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