§ Lord Kennet
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their reaction to the Israeli Government's announcement on 24 March of a major development project in Jerusalem, and to the current demolition of houses there; and whether they consider that this forms part of an ethnic cleansing policy. [HL2163]
§ Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean:
We understand that the Israeli Cabinet announced on 24 March a three-year plan to improve infrastructure in Jerusalem that will provide NIS 75 million (£12 million) in 1999. The development will focus on improving facilities available to all communities in West and East Jerusalem.
We are concerned at the recent increase in the number of house demolitions in Jerusalem, as noted in an FCO statement on 21 April. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised the matter with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 22 April. We have consistently made clear our opposition to attempts to alter the demographic balance in East Jerusalem, which is in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and which prejudges the outcome of final status negotiations. We have condemned and will continue to condemn such policies.