With West Asia peacemaking at a standstill, Israel’s hard-line Parliament called a vote on Monday to push through a Bill that could sink future peace deals with the Palestinians and Syria.
The proposed legislation, which appeared headed for approval later in the day, would make it much harder for an Israeli government to cede East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights — captured territories that would be central to any future accords.
The legislation would require 80 of Israel’s 120 legislators to approve any withdrawal from those two areas. Without that super majority, the government would need to win approval in a binding national referendum.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet supports the Bill.
An official in Mr. Netanyahu’s office said the Prime Minister supports the idea of a referendum “in principle,” but was waiting to see the final language of the legislation before taking a firm position. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss internal political matters.
The Bill already has received preliminary approval but would need additional voting in parliament to go into law.
The Palestinians want sovereignty over East Jerusalem in any peace deal, while Syria insists on reasserting control over the Golan as its price for making peace.
Israel captured both territories in 1967 and later annexed them, and Mr. Netanyahu has given little indication that he is prepared to give up either area. The international community does not recognise those annexations.
The referendum Bill would not apply to the West Bank, also captured in 1967, because Israel has not annexed it.
Peace talks with the Palestinians broke down in late September, three weeks after they began — after Israel resisted Palestinian and U.S. pressure to extend a moratorium on new West Bank settlement construction.
Under U.S. pressure, Mr. Netanyahu has since agreed to a new, 90-day moratorium. But he is having trouble working out a formula with Washington that would mollify hard-liners in his coalition who want East Jerusalem exempted from the moratorium.
Indirect Turkish-mediated peace talks with Syria broke down in late 2008.