Jerusalem, 14 March 1999

Cabinet Communique

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 14.3.99:

1. The government of Israel today re-affirmed its commitment to a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.

A. The Cabinet completely rejected the contents of the letter from the German ambassador. The stance according to which Jerusalem constitutes a "Corpus Separatum" is incorrect, both from the factual and the legal point of view, and is completely unacceptable to Israel.

B. The Cabinet once more affirmed that united Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish People. This is anchored in the Basic Law: Jerusalem – the Capital of Israel, which determines that "United Jerusalem is the capital of Israel." Israel will not agree under any circumstances to the division or internationalisation of Jerusalem, which will remain forever under the exclusive sovereignty of Israel.

C. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon will order Israeli missions in Europe and throughout the world to commence an information campaign on this subject, which will include the involvement of local Jewish communities and friends of Israel throughout the world, in order to make the international community aware of our rights over Jerusalem, and our stance according to which Jerusalem will stay forever under Israeli sovereignty alone.

D. The government of Israel will continue to ensure freedom of religion, worship and conscience in Jerusalem. Israel will take care to ensure the continuation of the status quo in the holy places of all religions and freedom of access to them, while respecting freedom for all faiths.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the information campaign decided on by the government was all the more essential given the expected start in the coming months of discussions on the permanent status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The Prime Minister added that United Nations Security Council Resolution 181 (the partition resolution) on which the stance of the German ambassador in his letter is apparently based, became null and void after it was rejected by the Arab side.

The Foreign Minister announced that he has invited all foreign ambassadors in Israel to a diplomatic briefing to take place on Tuesday, at which the Israeli stance on this subject will made clear.

2. In accordance with article 10 of the Council for Higher Education Law, the Cabinet decided to approve the decision taken by the council to award temporary and conditional recognition to the academic program of the Insurance College.

A. The Cabinet decided to approve the proposal of the Tourism Minister on the matter of upgrading existing hotels in the build-up to the millennium.

B. The cabinet approved the allocation of NIS 50 million in the course of 1999 to the project for the upgrading of existing hotels in the build-up to the millenium.

C. The criteria for the allocation of these funds will be jointly decided on by the Finance and Tourism Ministries. Upgrading of this kind will bring about a situation whereby the number of hotel rooms will be more proportionate to the demand expected in the year 2000. Upgrading of this kind will prevent the use of hotels for other purposes, which reduces the number of rooms available to tourists. The aid will be given to replenish significant investments made to raise the rating of the hotel.

3. The Cabinet approved the draft law on taxation payments on elective days (amendment) 1999.