UPDATE: Redrawing the Borders of Jerusalem: New Ir Amim Position Paper Analyzes Pending Unilateral Plans

November 27, 2017
Tomorrow, the Constitution, Law & Justice Committee of the Knesset will revisit discussion on the Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel (Amendment No. 2) following a review of the proposed legislation on November 7.  Members could vote tomorrow to determine if the bill will advance to a second and third reading.
The amendment, proposed by Ministers Naftali Bennet and Ze’ev Elkin, was hastily approved by the Knesset before adjournment for the summer recess in July. It provides that section 6 of the Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, prohibiting the transfer of any area of Jerusalem to a foreign entity or authority, would be protected from amendment by requiring a super majority of 80 members of Knesset as opposed to the current sixty-one.
While thus making the amendment process more stringent, at the same time the ministers introduced language designed to create a legal distinction between “territorial concessions” and “municipal changes.”  Here the ministers aim to create maximum room for maneuver in service to the dual goals of de facto annexation of the three settlement blocs surrounding Jerusalem, under the guise of “urban” expansion, and severing the Palestinian neighborhoods from the Jerusalem Municipality without formally waiving Israeli control and sovereignty over them. 
The logical implication of this amendment is best evidenced by a proposal Elkin is pushing to effectively disconnect the neighborhoods beyond the Barrier from the city by transferring them from the Municipality to some yet to be determined regional Israeli authority.
For more analysis on the spate of unilateral plans being promoted to redraw the boundaries of the city in advance of a possible return to negotiations, link to Ir Amim's new policy paper.
November 16
At the end of October, the "Greater Jerusalem Bill" was pulled from the agenda of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation by the prime minster, just hours before its scheduled discussion. Within 24 hours, Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Ze'ev Elkin, unveiled his initiative to effectively disconnect the eight Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem beyond the Separation Barrier from the city by transferring them from the Municipality to some yet to be determined regional Israeli authority.  The growing number of legislative proposals and attendant plans, and the increasing transparency of their promoters' demographically driven motivations, indicates clear intentions to unilaterally pave the way for redrawing the borders of Jerusalem and expediting a radical shift in its demographic balance. These initiatives are not exclusively generated by the Israeli right wing but are increasingly being promoted and normalized by the center-left.
As Ir Amim's new policy paper contends, the significance of the proposed unilateral processes of expansion and separation extends far beyond the ‘municipal’ level.  At issue is the first practical move since the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 to implement the de facto annexation of areas in the West Bank to Israel, while at the same time conducting a massive transfer of Palestinian residents from Jerusalem.  If realized, these proposals will decisively undermine chances for a political resolution on the city, rupture the urban fabric, and escalate the conflict in Jerusalem.
Ir Amim's new paper describes and analyzes the current bills and their implications for the character of Jerusalem, its residents, and the political future of the city while proposing recommendations for an alternative framework, with the goal of strengthening the fabric of life for both the Israeli and Palestinian populations of the city, encouraging dialogue between the two national groups, and promoting conditions for an agreed political solution.