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Statement by Israeli Prime Minister Peres on Hebron Redeployment

(May 6, 1996)

In an effort to alleviate fears of Jewish settlers in Hebron as to the future of the Jewish section in that city, the prime minister explained the broad lines of the agreements concerning the future redeployment of the IDF in Hebron. Text:

Prime Minister and Defense Minister Shimon Peres today, 6.5.96, told a delegation of rabbis and yeshiva deans, at a meeting in his Jerusalem office, that: "My decision on the date of the IDF's redeployment in Hebron will be derived solely on the basis of security and practical considerations." The Prime Minister made his statement in response to a request that he consider delaying the redeployment by three months. Peres added that he had heard the Likud has also endorsed the Oslo Accords and, "thus, the people are not divided on this issue."

The Prime Minister emphasized that the IDF will retain its control of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, as well as the area that is home to Hebron's Jewish community and the access routes to it. "The issue of public and personal security is my highest priority, but I see no reason to control Hebron's 160,000 Arabs. Nevertheless, we will continue to defend Hebron's Jewish residents," Peres said.

Peres stressed that the Jewish holy places will also remain in Israeli hands. "Jerusalem will remain united under Israeli control and all attempts to convince the public that the Government will divide Jerusalem are nothing but hearsay. Rachel's Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs will also remain under Israeli control."

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs