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Israel legislature passes amendment requiring majority vote to cede land

[JURIST] Israel's legislature, the Knesset, passed a constitutional amendment [text, in Hebrew] Tuesday regarding status of land in the city of Jerusalem, now requiring a large majority vote of the Knesset to cede any land in Jerusalem to a foreign party.

The amendment was passed by a vote of 64 to 51 with one abstaining vote.

The amendment affects Sections 5, 6 and 7 of the part of the constitutional laws designated Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel [text]. Section 5 defines Jerusalem's borders and was repealed. Section 6 prohibits the transfer of authority regarding land in Jerusalem to a foreign power, and Section 7 originally allowed for a majority vote to alter Sections 5 and 6. With this amendment, the language of Section 7 was changed to specify that the majority must be at least 80 members. The original law, passed in 1980 and subsequently amended in 2000, only required 61 of the 120 members to vote for any change in the status of sovereignty of land in Jerusalem.

A press release [text] from the Knesset mentioned the possible increased diplomatic tension between Israel and Palestine due to this decision. It was also noted that although a larger majority of the Knesset vote is needed to change land status in Jerusalem, it is still possible to amend the current bill with a simple majority of 61.

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