Jerusalem, 8 February 1998

CABINET COMMUNIQUE

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 8.02.98:

1. The Cabinet received a security briefing from the head of the GSS.

2. The Prime Minister addressed the international crisis with Iraq, saying that there is no change in the assessment that the probability of Israel being attacked is low. Israel remains in contact with the United States on this matter. As to the US Defense Secretary’s statement regarding Israel, the Prime Minister reiterated that Israel retains the right to defend itself and that it will take every action required for the sake of its national security. The Prime Minister added that the defense establishment is continuing, simultaneously, to take the necessary steps for the defense of the home front.

3. Concerning the negotiations with the Palestinians, the Prime Minister said that he intends to try and advance the discussions of the committees negotiating on the interim arrangement.

4. The Prime Minister told the Cabinet that the team appointed to deal with the subject of compensation for the families of the victims in the Naharayim terrorist attack has reached a positive resolution. King Hussein of Jordan has sent the President a $1 million cheque to be transferred to the families, to assist in concluding the tragic affair of the terrorist attack in Naharayim.

5. The Cabinet approved the principles of the proposed 1998 General Security Service Law. The Cabinet authorized the Ministerial Committee for Legislative and Law Enforcement Affairs, on behalf of the Cabinet, to discuss and approve the language of the proposed law.

6. The Cabinet ratified the agreement between Israel and Jordan on a recognized industrial zone in Irbid.

7. (i) The Cabinet held a further discussion on the administration of agricultural land policy, and decided on a rate of compensation for those leasing agricultural land. The compensation rates are different for the center of the country, and for National Priority areas "A" and "B".

(ii) The above are incentives designed to comply with what is required by Cabinet decisions to meet annual demand for 50,000-60,000 housing units.