STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER YITZHAK RABIN FOLLOWING HIS MEETING WITH PLO CHAIRMAN YASSER ARAFAT,

EREZ – JANUARY 19, 1995

We met today in a crucial moment. The papers are full of complaints on both sides. But we decided not to focus on detailed complaints, but to reaffirm our commitment to the DOP and to the implementation of its second phase, after the implementation of Gaza and Jericho.

We discussed, in a small group, the main elements of the second phase, that includes five elements: security, elections, redeployment, questions related to the transfer of authorities, and economic matters. Agreement on these five issues will enable us to start the implementation of the second phase of the DOP.

To prevent any misunderstanding, I informed the Chairman about decisions related to settlements and land in the territories – decisions that were made by the Government of Israel in 1992 when we took over. I quote the decisions that were made by the Government of Israel:

– First, to freeze all the decisions of former governments of Israel about new settlements in the territories – and we did so.

– Second, to make sure that we will not allow, beyond what was agreed then about buildings that were built, that government money will be spent for housing in the territories.

– Third, that there will be no confiscation of land for housing in the territories.

– Fourth, that government money will not be given in case of private building within existing settlements.

– And, of course, fifth, that came about after the DOP, that during the period of interim arrangements, no settlement will be uprooted.

I informed that all the stories about confiscation of land lately were made only to build by-pass roads, in preparation of the implementation of the second phase of the DOP – to have a by-pass of Tulkarem, to have a by-pass of Ramallah, for the Israelis, in order once we will implement the second phase, to make it more secure, without friction. No land was confiscated for building houses or anything of this kind.

I believe that also we have agreed that there will be a meeting next week between the Palestinian Authority representatives and our special Ministers’ committee about release of prisoners. We will facilitate transfer of commodities and goods from Egypt to the Gaza Strip and some other matters in the economic fields.

But the main point that I would like to stress: There are difficulties. The Israelis are bothered by terrorism, the Palestinians by the settlements and land. We have to focus on the continuation of negotiations to implement what we are committed to – the Declaration of Principles: to bring about elections, to bring about transfer of authority, to make sure that security will prevail. Because terror is the main obstacle, from our point of view, on the way to implementing the next phase.

This is our

purpose. To this we are committed. On this, we offer to work together.