United States pressure behind delay in vote for 'Greater Jerusalem Bill'

31 October, 2017, 01:24 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Likud MK David Bitan is seen at a Likud rally near Ben Gurion International Airport

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday delayed a vote on the legislation due to American pressure, according to reports. "I think it's fair to say that the United States is discouraging actions that it believes will unduly distract the principals from focusing on the advancement of peace negotiations", a USA official said on condition of anonymity.

The law stops short of annexing West Bank territory to Israel, and its practical implications are unclear. "The Jerusalem expansion bill was considered by the administration to be one of those actions", the USA official told The Times of Israel. Its opponents argue that it is a step towards full unilateral annexation of the West Bank settlements affected - a move that would be sure to spark global outrage. It says the communities will be considered "daughter municipalities" of Jerusalem. "As we have been coordinating with them until now, it is worth [continuing] talking and coordinating with them".

Some 500000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull checked into the King David Hotel in Jerusalem at 2 p.m. on Monday, just less than two days later than he originally intended, and nearly immediately entered into discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The release said they discussed issues facing Israel and how to bolster the relationship between the country and Wisconsin.

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Settlements affected are Maale Adumim, Beitar Illit, Efrat, Givat Zeev, and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.

The hour-long, one-on-one meeting in Jerusalem took place on the first full day of the governor's trade mission to Israel, where he is leading a 15-member delegation on a trip aimed at boosting exports, increasing foreign investment in Wisconsin and developing new partnerships between the state and Israel. Israel officially maintains that the settlements are not illegal, because the land is disputed rather than occupied.

The global community is widely opposed to settlement construction.

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