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Talks with Palestinians return to Israel's public discourse

Pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from opponents within and outside his coalition has grown in sync with advances in talks with the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during an inauguration ceremony of a new train station in the southern town of Sderot, close to the Gaza Strip border December 24, 2013. REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL - Tags: HEADSHOT POLITICS) - RTX16T9J
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On Dec. 18, at the eleventh hour, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded in torpedoing a bill that would have required an exceptional, two-thirds majority of 80 Knesset members before any negotiations about a possible partition of Jerusalem. The law threatened to tie Netanyahu’s hands and greatly embarrass him in the talks with the Palestinians and the Americans and vis-a-vis the centrist parties in his coalition. Now he will have to deal with a new bill with similar ramifications approved by the Ministerial Committee on Dec. 29. That bill demands Israel’s annexation of Jordan Valley lands conquered in the Six-Day War in 1967 to make it difficult for the government to offer diplomatic concessions regarding these territories.

Even if this bill, submitted by Likud Knesset member Miri Regev, eventually fails, a similar proposal in an earlier stage of legislative development awaits around the corner. The initiator of this bill is Knesset member Moti Yogev, from HaBayit HaYehudi, which is a member of the coalition and of the government.

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