CABINET COMMUNIQUE

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat) Jerusalem, August 2, 1996

At the Cabinet meeting today (Friday), August 2, 1996:

1. The Public Security Minister briefed the Cabinet on the opening of an office in Jerusalem by Hatem Abd al-Kader, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Foreign Minister said that his ministry acted immediately, relaying the message to the Palestinian Authority that the Government will not tolerate this, and that we demand the immediate closure of the office. Arafat responded that governmental activities of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem will be halted.

The Prime Minister said, on this matter, that we take a very serious view of the fact that Authority offices are operating in Jerusalem. We will ensure that this activity is halted.

2. The head of the GSS issued a statement on media reports concerning the comments of Ehud Yatom.

With regard to reports in the press concerning Bus #300 issues, I wish to make clear that:

"The General Security Service operates in order to prevent and stop terrorist attacks, and does not engage in punishing terrorists.

"In the State of Israel, as in every country governed by the rule of law, it is not the role of the Service to dispense punishment, but to prevent terrorist activities. In addition, I wish to make clear that, whenever GSS members appear before investigative commissions, courts, Knesset committees or any other forum, they are directed to tell only the truth, and I know that they do so.

"I consider it appropriate to unequivocally clarify these issues since they have become the subject of public debate."

The head of the GSS then gave a security briefing, to which Section 44 of Basic Law: The Government applies.

3. Regarding planning and construction, the Cabinet decided that Government offices will operate with respect to settlement activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, under the authority vested in the defense establishment and the Defense Minister in this sphere, and within the framework of the State budget as approved in the appropriate sections and all these in accordance with the instructions of the Prime Minister.

The Cabinet also decided that all new permission for planning, the discussion of zoning plans, and the granting of authorization to these plans, will be granted only after the Defense Minister gives his approval.

Some ministers expressed reservations about the need to obtain the Defense Minister’s approval, and also proposed that a ministerial committee on settlement be created. These reservations were not put to a vote, and the decision was unanimously approved.

The Prime Minister said:

"1) The previous government placed chains and bonds upon the natural development of the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

2) It obviously placed no such chains upon Arab communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, or upon Jewish communities within the Green Line.

3) Thus, for example, if one wanted to open a kindergarten in Ariel, it would have been necessary to appeal to the committee on exceptions comprised of ministers of the Government of Israel and, even then, it was unclear whether this exceptional permission would be given.

4) Clearly, this situation is unacceptable to us. Accordingly, we are today issuing a proposal to correct this discrimination against the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

5) Obviously, within the context of removing these chains, there are also natural supervisory measures governing the construction and settlement process, as required in all countries governed by the rule of law, and these are outlined in the proposal before us."

The Prime Minister also said this decision is designed to abolish sweeping prohibitions which created unjust discrimination against the development of existing communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

If a proposal for the creation of a new community is made, it will require the special approval of the full Cabinet.

4. The Cabinet ratified the agreement with the European Community on scientific and technological cooperation.

5. The Cabinet asked the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and Law Enforcement to discuss and determine the Government’s position on the proposed Short-Term Loan Law (Amendment #7), 1996.

6. The Cabinet resolved to initiate a special session of the Knesset to discuss a number of legislative issues.

7. The Cabinet discussed the problem of violence committed by husbands against wives.

The Cabinet expresses concern about the grave phenomenon of family violence, and takes a serious view of violent incidents, including the murder and attempted murder of women, in accordance with the report presented by Minister Limor Livnat.

The Cabinet views this phenomenon as a primary social problem, and will act in all frameworks to limit it, and to assist in changing the social norms which have brought about violence and the murder of women.

The Cabinet authorized ministers to act within the context of their ministries in order to deal with the matter specifically, in the educational and legal spheres, including the re-examination of minimum punishments for violent men.

The Prime Minister asked the ministers to address the issue, and to propose plans of action.

8. The Prime Minister reported to the Cabinet that, in accordance with Section 29 (A)(2) of Basic Law: The Government, he has determined that the Education, Culture and Sport Minister and the Interior Minister will each serve as the Religious Affairs Minister for alternating periods of one year. The order of the tenure of the Education, Culture and Sport Minister and the Interior Minister as Religious Affairs Minister will be determined on Monday, August 5, 1996.

9. The Cabinet decided, in accordance with Section 4B of Basic Law: Administration of Justice, to designate Minister Yitzhak Levy, in addition to the Justice Minister, as a member of the Judge Selection Committee.