Illegal construction must be dealt with and the law enforced wherever it takes place.

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Following are remarks made by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni at the ministerial committee dealing with unauthorized settlement outposts this morning (Tuesday, 11 December 2007):

"This committee has been convened to provide the necessary tools for the implementation of government policy as opposed to previous evasion of this issue.

Regarding illegal construction – wherever it takes place – this issue must be dealt with and the law enforced. This is clearly a matter between the government and its citizens. I believe that a comprehensive response to illegal Bedouin construction in the Negev should be adopted immediately as well. However, I do not believe that failure to uphold the law in one instance justifies not upholding it in another.

We must remember that any decision regarding construction in Judea and Samaria has two aspects:

1. A legal-technical aspect
2. A purely political aspect

To state that the significance of decisions adopted regarding Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria is politically equivalent to that of decisions regarding construction in other regions – is incorrect. This is also true regarding legal construction. Judea and Samaria are politically different from every other region, and this must be taken into account.

We must determine which tools to use to implement policy, but we can never ignore the political significance of each decision.

Government decisions regarding construction in Judea and Samaria to date, including the Prime Minister’s report to the Cabinet two weeks ago, are expressions of government policy, and they too have political significance.

It is not necessary to convene a committee in order to evacuate illegal outposts. We are here in order to formulate the necessary legal tools which will enable the execution of government policy as determined by the government, and this can be discussed.

However, once the process has been decided upon, once the tools enabling us to build or to authorize construction will be in place, we will able to authorize construction if we so desire, and if we do not, we will have the tools necessary to prevent the construction. This is something the government did not possess previously.