Jerusalem, 15 March 1998

CABINET COMMUNIQUE

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 15.3.98:

1. The Cabinet was briefed on security matters by the Defense Minister and the Chief- of-Staff.

2. The Prime Minister said that there has been a worrisome escalation in events in Judea and Samaria, some of which have come in the wake of the Tarkumiya incident. The shooting in Hebron from territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority is very serious, and the Palestinian Authority must act aggressively to prevent it.

The Prime Minister added that Israel has an obligation to ensure the security of Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria in general, and in Hebron in particular. IDF soldiers and commanders are performing a very difficult task in Hebron, and the Cabinet gives its full support to the IDF in its actions. The Prime Minister also said that the defense establishment will examine additional measures required for the defense of the Jewish community in Hebron. He emphasized that Israel cannot accept, under any circumstances, the partisan actions of a minority group from among Hebron’s residents. The decisive majority of residents are law-abiding, and we must insist that the entire population acts in accordance with the law.

The Defense Minister said that the best IDF soldiers and commanders are serving in Hebron, and that the military is carrying out the proper actions. We are doing everything to restore the daily routine, and offer our full support to the army and its commanders.

3. Regarding the British Foreign Secretary’s expected visit to Israel, the Prime Minister said that the Secretary’s visit to Har Homa, accompanied by Faisal Husseini, is not acceptable to the Government. He added that the Foreign Ministry is holding contacts with the British government on this issue.

4. The Cabinet approved, in accordance with the Prime Minister’s proposal, the appointment of Ephraim Halevy as Director of the Mossad. The Prime Minister will determine the date on which the appointment will take effect.

5. The Cabinet decided to empower the Interior Ministry’s Negev Bedouin Administration and Planning Administration to advance plans for the construction of a neighborhood for the Tarbin a-Sanaa tribe. Before the plans are completed, the budgetary implications and costs of building the neighborhood will be examined.