Jerusalem, May 24, 1998

CABINET COMMUNIQUE

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

1. The Prime Minister, at the start of the meeting, addressed the topic of Jerusalem Day, saying that this is a great day for the State of Israel. This is the day on which the peace process actually began, and on which the Jewish people returned to its holy places.

2. The Prime Minister said that the attacks and threats against judges are intolerable. The Government absolutely denounces this phenomenon and will fight against it, using every legal means at its disposal.

3. The Cabinet held a political discussion. The Prime Minister reiterated that, before the Government was established, there was no reality of peace but of repeated acts of terrorism. There was a problematic agreement, which was not even honored by the Palestinian side. The Cabinet agreed to accept the agreement and remains obligated to continuing the peace process, on condition that the other side fulfills its commitments. The danger of terrorism exists at every moment, and we must therefore insist on reciprocity while also avoiding to transfer any territory as long as there is no certainty that vital security arrangements are in place.

The Prime Minister added that unilateral measures by the Palestinians would constitute a flagrant violation of the agreement and, in such a case, Israel would take clear steps.

Regarding the extent of the redeployment, the Prime Minister said that Israel has not reached an agreement with the United States on this matter. Israel can carry out the redeployment, on condition that its security interests are not affected.

With respect to the issue of reciprocity, some progress has been made but there are no agreements as yet. Israel wishes to reach an agreement on the definition of the third redeployment.

The Defense Minister said that the decisions made by previous governments remain in force. At the same time, it is necessary to make all the adjustments required for the security needs of the State of Israel. We want to ensure that the process does not cease and we are minimizing damages. Israeli society is now confident that there exist interim stations in the process for inspection and examination, during which we seek results whose sum total are that our national security is not affected.