Jerusalem, February 27, 1997

Statement by the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

In reference to the Ministerial Committee on Jerusalem Affairs’ decision:

The decision to approve construction of the Har Homa neighborhood, as well as other projects for the Arab population, was taken within the context of Jerusalem’s development needs and represents no contravention of international law or any Israeli – Palestinian agreement.

Israel’s commitment to the peace process remains unswerving. The decision to commence the construction of the Har Homa neighborhood in Jerusalem does not in any way contradict the various agreements which have been signed between Israel and the Palestinians. A careful reading of the agreements bears this out. Israel and the Palestinians continue to move forward with the implementation of the Hebron Protocol and the anticipated further redeployment which is due to take place in the coming weeks.

In reference to the Ministerial Committee’s decision: A number of statements were made which left the impression that violent reaction to this undertaking was to be expected or even understood. Violence, or the threat of its use, is unacceptable within the process. Such statements should be condemned by all who seek to further peace in the Middle East.