Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Undivided Jerusalem is the Basic Law.

Hillel Fendel.

Two Jerusalem organizations have sent a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, reminding him that discussions with US President Bush or PA Chairman Abbas regarding a possible division of Jerusalem are in violation of Israeli law. Clauses 5 and 6 of one of Israel's cardinal laws - Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel - mean that Jerusalem 's status as the united and sole capital of Israel may not be compromised. The first clause of the law in question, passed in 1980 under Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Yitzchak Navon, states, " Jerusalem, whole and united, is the capital of Israel." Clause 5 stipulates the precise area of Jerusalem, while Clause 6 states, "No authorities relating to the area of Jerusalem and that is in the legal purview of the State of Israel or the Municipality of Jerusalem shall be transferred to any foreign political or governmental element, whether permanently or for a set period."

Clause 7 states that Clauses and 5 and 6 may not be changed except if another Basic Law is accepted by the majority of the Knesset. Therefore, the negotiate with Israel's enemies - including Mr. Abu Mazen, the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority - regarding the re-division of Jerusalem and the ceding of parts of the city - in violation of the Basic Law.

Attorney Ben-Yosef explains why his warning is timely: "Given that you and/or ministers in your government are liable to wage such negotiations during and after the visit of US President Bush, you are hereby required to declare immediately that you will observe the Basic Law and that you will not wage any negotiations over the future of Jerusalem while the above law and/or its clauses are still in effect."

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