TALKING POINTS ON: Jerusalem: The Recent Decision of the Israeli Cabinet

Posted on July 1, 1998 In Press Releases

The Israeli Cabinet’s decision to strengthen Jerusalem is designed to ensure Jerusalem’s unity by maintaining the demographic balance in the city and by countering PLO efforts to divide it.

The Jewish population in Jerusalem is declining and the Palestinian population increasing. This decision will help maintain the demographic balance to ensure that united Jerusalem will remain Israel’s eternal capital. This would not entail any steps that would adversely affect the city’s Arab population.

This Israeli Cabinet’s decision is designed to bolster the unity of Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority has announced their intention to divide Jerusalem in violation of the Oslo Accords.

It has tried to establish its authority over eastern Jerusalem by setting up an illicit police force, conducting governmental operations out of Orient House, and attempting to include Arab residents in a census of the West Bank. The Palestinians’ position on Jerusalem’s status in the permanent settlement entails redivision of the city with “international borders”, separating a Palestinian “East Jerusalem” from an Israeli “West Jerusalem.”

The Israeli decision is entirely consistent with the peace process. It neither changes the status quo in the West Bank nor affects in any way the status of the Palestinians in Jerusalem or in the territories, nor does it violate the Oslo Accords.

This decision is designed to enhance the municipal services for all residents within the Jerusalem metropolitan area including the economy and all quality of life services.

This can be achieved through the “umbrella municipality” around Jerusalem which will improve resources and municipal services for the entire metropolitan Jerusalem area. This does not change in any way the municipal status of the West Bank settlements affected by this decision nor does it annex any land in the West Bank. Under Oslo, Jerusalem is, of course, a final status issue: there are no restrictions whatever on Israel’s activities in the city.

The Cabinet’s decision does not violate the Oslo Accords.

The Cabinet decided to expand Jerusalem’s municipal area only to the west, covering Jewish territory that is strictly within pre 1967 Israel. This is an internal Israeli matter with no impact on the peace process.

The Cabinet’s decision will enhance the city’s economy for all its residents, Jews and Arabs alike.

The plans include reducing the gap between housing prices in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities; improving the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem train system; and adding additional improvements to Israel’s infrastructure and transportation system. There are also plans to promote high-tech business and academic studies in Jerusalem. These very important steps will benefit all of Jerusalem’s residents.