Jerusalem, 20 May 1998

CABINET COMMUNIQUE

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday), 20.5.98:

1. The Cabinet was briefed on security matters by the Defense Minister, the Public Security Minister, the IDF Chief-of-Staff, and the Israel Police Jerusalem District Commander.

2. The Prime Minister briefed the Cabinet on his recent trip to the United States. The Prime Minister said that Israel enjoys broad support from the organized American Jewish community and the US Congress.

The Prime Minister emphasized that he did not travel to the United States for the sake of a confrontation with the US Administration. Even if differences exist, relations between the two countries are sufficiently strong to overcome them.

The Prime Minister added that nothing was concluded during talks with the US Secretary of State, and no consent was given for a 13% redeployment reports of which are baseless.

The Prime Minister also said that his preferred approach is to arrive at an understanding which also encompasses the third redeployment, and not only the first and second redeployments. It is important that there be agreement on the entire interim process package, so that no further crisis is created on the question of the third redeployment in another two or three months.

The Prime Minister said that, in the discussions, Israel took a clear stand on all steps relating to the fulfillment of Palestinian obligations. The Prime Minister added that he clarified Israel’s firm objection to unilateral measures by the Palestinian Authority, with regard to declaring a Palestinian state a move which would constitute a flagrant violation of the agreement, and also release Israel from its commitments.

3. The Cabinet decided to declare local election day, 10.11.98, as a partial vacation day, at educational institutions in which voting stations are located as on the day of the previous local elections in 1993.

4. The Cabinet approved the implementation of an experimental Labor and Social Welfare Ministry project, Mahshava (Thought), for the training of academics in high-tech professions.