(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today, (Sunday) 6.12.98:
1. The Prime Minister said that it is not acceptable that Israel be required to hand over territories to someone who states in advance that he intends to violate the agreement. He added that according to the Cabinet’s decision, the Palestinians must immediately halt acts of violence and incitement to violence, and must retract their demand for the release of prisoners with blood on their hands, which completely contravenes what was agreed upon at Wye. The Palestinians must also explicitly rescind their intentions to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state. The Oslo Accords state that a permanent settlement will be the result of bilateral negotiations only, and we expect Arafat to desist from making statements regarding his intention to declare the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Prime Minister added that Israel also expects the Palestinian Authority to fulfill all the other commitments which it has taken upon itself, especially the abrogation of the Palestinian Covenant by the Palestinian National Council. He noted that, so far, the Palestinian Authority has not summoned all PNC members, as it has committed to do. Regarding the release of prisoners, the Prime Minister said that Israel will not release murderers, even those who have been imprisoned for long periods. What the Palestinians are trying to do, is to receive something which was not agreed upon at Wye. The Palestinian Authority is behind the wave of demonstrations and hunger strikes; Israel vehemently condemns this and demands that the Palestinian Authority fulfill its part of the agreement.
Regarding the participation of the President of the United States at the PNC convention, the Prime Minister and the Industry and Trade Minister emphasized that this initiative came from the President at the Wye Plantation talks, and not from Israel.
The Prime Minister emphasized that Israel is fighting for a just position, and this requires all ministers to unite, vis-a-vis the public.
2. The Transportation Minister submitted a multi-year working plan for road safety for 1999-2001, to the Cabinet.
3. The Cabinet decided to approve the plan to assist university students, increase their social involvement and establish a committee to consider a comprehensive reform of the higher education system. The Cabinet was told that during the student strike, government and student representatives reached an understanding based on the national importance of providing students with the opportunity to dedicate adequate time to their studies as well as being able to influence the country’s social and cultural image. After the understandings were reached, the students sought to make changes in them; this was rejected by the government representatives.
The Education Minister said that there have not been any negotiations in which the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Education Minister haven spent so much time. He added that charges that the government is indifferent must be rejected — the opposite is true. The government was open to suggestions. The students sought to go back on what was agreed upon in the discussion.