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Israel coalition government passes bill for referendum on peace agreements

Israel's coalition government on Sunday approved a draft bill that would require the government to submit any proposed peace deal with Palestinians to voters for approval by referendum. The bill [Times of Israel report] would exist as Basic Law in the country, which preserves basic rights and presides over other laws. Although a similar measure was passed in 2010, it was not a Basic Law and thus did not possess the same weight as the present bill would. A paper from a cabinet briefing expressed the government's intention to prioritize passage of the bill because of its importance and urgency. It is expected to go before the Knesset [official website] on Wednesday for a first reading and that it will be voted on by next week.

Conflicts between Israel and Palestine have repeatedly raised concerns of possible human rights violations. In March a UN rights experts called for Israel to cease all settlement activity and immediately withdraw settlers [JURIST report] from Palestinian territories due to the possibility of human rights abuses. The UN in December called on Israel to implement and support [JURIST report] the conflict-ending cease fire agreement with Palestinians in Gaza. Months earlier, Amnesty International [advocacy website] had urged Israel to investigate [JURIST report] the alleged mistreatment of two Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike.

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