Israel: May 30, 2000


In a key vote in early May, the Israeli Knesset voted 56-48 to hand over the village of Abu Dis to the Palestinians. This was a significant event in the peace process. Abu Dis, just outside of Jerusalem, is one of the open secrets of the Middle East. Under a final peace deal, this village will be declared a part of the city of Jerusalem and, hours later, will become the Palestinian capital. This will give the Palestinians what they want (Jerusalem as a capital) and the Israelis what they want (no loss of any part of Jerusalem). The vote by the Knesset (which knows the plan for Abu Dis) was critical in several aspects. While Barak was able to get a majority, he did so only by pressuring 16 opposition and centrist members to abstain. His 56-48 majority came only by virtue of the 10 Arab delegates, meaning that a majority of Jewish delegates who voted on the issue voted against it. Of all of the elements of the peace deal, this was the simplest and least dangerous to Israel, and presumably the easiest to pass.--Stephen V Cole


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