Talk of dividing Jerusalem illegal, warn Israeli lawyers

Monday, January 07, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

The division of Jerusalem demanded by the Palestinians as part of any final status peace agreement is expected to be a top item on the agenda when US President George W. Bush visits this coming week.

But late last week, lawyers for two grassroots Israeli organizations sent a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warning that any official negotiations over the division of Jerusalem would be a violation of Israeli law.

Clauses contained in an Israel Basic Law passed in 1980 stipulate that Jerusalem must remain whole and united as Israel's capital and that no part of the city may be surrendered to the control of a foreign entity. The law states that its provisions can only be altered by a new Basic Law passed by a majority of Israel's Knesset.

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