Jerusalem, 13 October 1998

CABINET COMMUNIQUE

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly cabinet meeting today (Tuesday), 13.10.98:

1. The Prime Minister briefed the cabinet on his decision to appoint Minister Ariel Sharon as Foreign Minister, in accordance with authority under Basic Law: Government, Article 39 (A)(2), which permits the Prime Minister to alter the distribution of ministerial portfolios. The Prime Minister said that Minister Sharon will continue to serve as National Infrastructures Minister for the next three months.

The Prime Minister and the cabinet extended their best wishes for success to Minister Sharon.

In light of the Attorney-General’s opinion, Minister Sharon’s appointment as Foreign Minister does not require Knesset approval; however, the cabinet, in its concern to maintain good relations between the various branches of the government, has in the past, informed the Knesset of similar changes, whether orally or in writing, and will do so this time as well.

2. The Interior Minister briefed the cabinet on the various fires throughout the country. The Prime Minister directed the Interior and Finance Ministers to agree, in the coming days, on the additional means needed by the Fire and Rescue Commission. Additionally, the Ginosar Report will be submitted to the cabinet soon.

3. The cabinet decided to transfer NIS 28 million from the Finance Ministry to the Education, Culture and Sport Ministry, beginning with the 1999 fiscal year, in order to continue the administration and operation of Jewish- Zionist education programs in the Diaspora.

4. The Prime Minister delivered a political briefing to the cabinet vis-a-vis the expected summit in the US and the cabinet discussed his report.

At the weekly cabinet meeting today (Thursday), 1.10.98:

1. The Prime Minister briefed the Cabinet on his visit to the United States. The Prime Minister said that, in all his meetings, he emphasized that peace must be based on reciprocity and security, that peace will be achieved only through negotiations — and that a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinians will bring about unilateral Israeli action. Today, the international community better understands the need to achieve a permanent settlement through negotiations, rather than through Palestinian declarations of unilateral action.

The Prime Minister also said that he met with Arafat, in accordance with the proposal of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In both meetings with Arafat, which were held mostly in private, the Prime Minister emphasized the need for reciprocity and for Arafat to decisively combat terrorism. Secretary Albright will visit Israel over the Sukkot holiday in order to prepare for a summit meeting with the parties, in an attempt to reach a comprehensive agreement — to certainly be brought for Cabinet approval. The Prime Minister added that reciprocity entails concrete implementation in keeping with an agreed timetable.

The Prime Minister said that the matter of the scope for the second redeployment has not yet been resolved, although progress has been achieved. Further discussion is still required to conclude the issues of the 10% and the additional, to be defined as a "nature preserve."

The Prime Minister said that the Cabinet is implementing its policy to fight an uncompromising war against terrorism, in every place and at all times. He praised the actions taken by the security services — headed by the GSS, the IDF and the Israel Police — against Hamas terrorism. Concerning the incident in Hebron, the Prime Minister said that Israel is calling on the Palestinian Authority to prevent terrorist attacks in the city and to cease its violations of the Hebron Accord.

The Prime Minister told the Cabinet of his intention to present the main points of Israel’s political proposals at the next Cabinet meeting, after the holidays, in advance of his departure for the United States.

2. The Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff briefed the Cabinet on security matters.

3. The Public Security Minister and the Police Commissioner briefed the Cabinet on events in Umm al-Fahm.

4. The Prime Minister said that the matter of Jonathan Pollard was raised during his visit to the United States, but that no decision had been taken.

5. The Cabinet approved cooperation agreements with Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

6. The Cabinet decided that the Interior Minister will be empowered to sign all pardons or commuted sentences authorized by the President, in the event that the Justice Minister is prevented from dealing with the case of a given offender for reason of a conflict of interest.

7. The Cabinet decided to appoint Ron Haimovsky as the Israeli trade representative in New York.