Spokeswoman: Israel's parliament could vote on new peace referendum bill as early as next week

  • Updated: July 23, 2013 - 10:50 AM

JERUSALEM — A spokeswoman for Israel's ruling Likud Party says parliament could vote as early as next week on a bill requiring a national referendum on any peace deal with the Palestinians.

Michal Gerstner said Tuesday that Israel already has a referendum law. The bill would shield the referendum idea against legal challenges.

Existing law calls for a referendum if the government cedes land under Israeli sovereignty, including east Jerusalem, annexed by Israel after the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians as a capital.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he'll fast-track the bill to prevent a rift in Israeli society. Critics say a referendum adds an obstacle to the process.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said he has made progress toward restarting long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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