ACJ NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release Contact:

Raafat Dajani June 24,1998

(202) 237-0215

ACJ SOUNDS ALARM ON ISRAELI ACTIONS IN JERUSALEM

WASHINGTON, -- The Israeli government has taken yet another unilateral action in Jerusalem, once again undermining the faltering peace process and treating American mediation with contempt.

By approving a new plan to expand the municipality of Jerusalem, the Israeli cabinet has once again acted rashly, ignoring both the spirit and the letter of the Oslo accords, and flouting both international law and UN Security Council resolutions.

This new plan, which is intended to strengthen Israel's hold on Jerusalem, is particularly dangerous since it will bring Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank under the direction of the city of Jerusalem. This means a further expansion of the bloated Jerusalem municipality which Israel created by annexing Arab East Jerusalem and large areas of the adjoining West Bank in the wake of the 1967 war. The UN Security Council repeatedly condemned these Israeli actions.

The Netanyahu government's latest provocation involves the following dangers:

1. Incorporating Israeli settlements in the West Bank such as Maale Adumim and Pisgat Zeev into Jerusalem violates both international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, and is a de facto annexation of West Bank land. The West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied territory, and any settlement activities in those territories is illegal. In addition, construction of roads linking West Bank settlements to Jerusalem will inevitably involve the confiscation of more Palestinian land.

2. Expanding the city's boundaries westward into Israel proper is aimed at increasing the 70 percent Jewish majority in all of Jerusalem. This policy of artificially increasing the Jewish population while concurrently enforcing a policy of driving out the Palestinian population of Jerusalem through the revocation of IDs, the demolition of homes and the takeover of properties by Jewish settlers is blatantly discriminatory and racist.

3. According to the terms of the Oslo accords, Jerusalem is supposed to be subject to negotiations as part of the final status talks, and no actions are to be taken by either side which would preempt or prejudge the resolution of this issue. Israel's latest action is a massive violation of the spirit and letter of these accords, and a calculated insult to all Palestinians who hope to resolve their differences with Israel peacefully.

4. This latest Israeli move is yet another calculated slap in the face of the Clinton administration, which has long been trying fruitlessly to revive the moribund peace process, and has publicly objected to the plan. It is another indication that this Israeli government places expansion of settlements and annexation of Palestinian land above all else, including peace in the Middle East.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Albright, ACJ President Rashid Khalidi has asked for a meeting to urge decisive action by our government in light of these reckless acts.

The ACJ strongly urges you to contact the White House, State Department and write/call your local newspaper to express your concern and to demand that action be taken.

Contact numbers:

White House Phone: (202)456-1414 e-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

State Department Phone: (202)647-5291 Fax: (202)647-7120 e-mail: secretary@state.gov

____________________________________________________________________ The American Committee on Jerusalem (ACJ) is an American non-profit organization dedicated to providing the American public and policy-makers with a balanced view-point on the critical issues of Jerusalem. Its objective is the promotion of educational activities and materials focused on Jerusalem, its heritage, and its future. Most of the information currently available to the public emphasizes Israeli and Jewish claims to the city, to the exclusion of equally valid, legitimate and historical connections of Palestinians, Muslims, and Christians.

The American Committee on Jerusalem

4201 Connecticut Ave., Suite 404,

Washington DC 20008

Tel:(202)237-0215 / Fax(202)244-3196

e-mail: acj@acj.org

Visit our web-site at: http://www.acj.org _____________________________________________________________________