PA Denounces Israeli Referendum Law

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has sharply denounced a new Israeli law which conditions any withdrawal from the occupied territories on holding a referendum.

"The Israeli leadership, yet again, is making a mockery of international law," Maan news agency quoted top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat as saying on Tuesday.

The Israeli parliament (Knesset) approved a bill into law that conditions the restoration of any occupied land to its Arab owners on the approval of Israeli people.

The bill was passed on Monday by a vote of 65 to 33 with no abstentions.

Erekat also noted that the law conveys a negative message, saying "The end of the occupation cannot depend on any referendum."

The PA official said Israel must withdraw not only from East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Golan Heights, but from all of the territories that it has occupied since 1967.

"Ending the occupation of our land is not and cannot be dependent on any sort of referendum," he stressed.

"The international community’s answer to this bill should be a worldwide recognition of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital," Erekat added.

Meanwhile, Jamal Zahalqa, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Knesset, called the law "an Israeli invention which is unprecedented in world history."

"In cases of occupation, people under occupation are invited to participate in a referendum to decide their fate and future and this happened several times last century, but the Israeli law talks about asking the occupying people to decide on the fate of the occupied lands and the fate of the people under occupation," Zahalqa argued.

The law affects the Palestinian territory of East al-Quds and Syria’s Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967, as well as the other territories which Tel Aviv has claimed as its own through occupation.

(Press TV)

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