A new bill intended to hinder any future division of Jerusalem has been approved in its preliminary reading in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. The bill proposes an amendment that would require a two-thirds majority vote of 80 members of the Knesset in order to relinquish Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem, as opposed to the current requirement of a simple majority of 61 votes. This would make it more difficult for concessions to be made over Jerusalem at the upcoming Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland.
The bill passed its preliminary reading on Wednesday by a vote of 54 to 24, but it has not passed into law. The legislation must make it through a committee and three votes on the Knesset floor.
“But if the governing coalition does not oppose it—and it has not so far—it has a good chance,” the New York Times reports.
Likud party MK Gideon Sa’ar, who sponsored the bill, stated that its adoption, “two weeks before the Annapolis conference, sends an important and clear signal to the entire international community that all of the people of Israel and parliament oppose concessions in Jerusalem.”
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that he is willing to negotiate on core issues relating to a two-state solution at the Annapolis conference later this month. One of the issues Olmert has put on the bargaining table is the final status of Jerusalem.
This latest move by Israel’s parliament, however, indicates that there will continue to be strong opposition to Olmert’s proposals among some politicians. The Trumpet.com has previously pointed out that the Temple Mount would be a particular sticking point for the Jews in any negotiations over Jerusalem.Biblical prophecy tells us that half of Jerusalem will fall (Zechariah 14:2). Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written about how the Jews’ determination to hold on to parts of East Jerusalem would lead to this prophecy being fulfilled through violence rather than negotiation. For more, read “Jerusalem Is About to Be Cut in Half.”
DEBKAfile: In a dramatic reverse swing, Putin decides to send uranium to fuel Iran’s atomic power station in Bushehr
November 16, 2007, 8:50 PM (GMT+02:00)
Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant prepares uranium for Iran's Bushehr reactor
The Russian president Vladimir Putin indicated Friday that Moscow would send uranium to Iran’s atomic reactor in Bushehr (a reactor unconnected with Iran’s suspect military program) after all. International Atomic Energy inspectors were invited to the Novosibirsk Plant on Nov. 26 to verify and seal the fuel before shipment. On that day, too, the US-promoted Middle East conference is provisionally set to open in Annapolis, Maryland. The Quartet of which Russia is a member will not be there.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that by this step, Moscow has backed away from the commitments Putin gave President Bush and Israeli prime minister Olmert, after his mid-October talks with Iranian leaders in Tehran broke down in discord. He then promised to withhold the fuel from the Bushehr reactor and indeed pulled all the Russian staff out before they had completed work on the project’s final stages.
Olmert received Putin’s commitment to withhold the uranium fuel from Iran when they met in the Kremlin on Oct. 18 and passed it on to President Bush and later to French president Nicolas Sarkozy and British premier Gordon Brown in special trips he made to Paris and London. The Israeli prime minister announced then that Israel had a true friend in the Russian leader.
He is deeply embarrassed by Putin’s about-face. It also bodes ill for the third round of sanctions, for which the Bush administration is pushing at the UN Security Council, where Russian holds a veto, now that the nuclear watchdog confirmed in its latest report Nov. 15 that Iran had not given up uranium enrichment.
DEBKAfile’s Moscow sources report that the Russian president has reverted to his previous tactic of broadcasting to Muslim nations a message that Moscow has its own agenda and is willing, unlike Washington, to help them develop their nuclear programs.
The question mark hanging over UN sanctions also affects the decision on military action against Iran’s suspect military nuclear facilities, which President Bush had put on a back burner under the influence of Putin’s breach with Tehran. There was a brief thaw in the tense relations between Washington and Moscow and signs of a new willingness for compromise on both sides on such matters as the US plan to deploy anti-missile systems in East Europe.
The month-long détente was abruptly curtailed Friday, Nov. 16, with Moscow’s decision to let Iran have the uranium to fuel its Bushehr reactor six months before its scheduled start-up. The step was gladly welcomed in Tehran.