Jerusalem, 18 July 1999

Cabinet Communique

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 18.7.99:

1. The Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister briefed the Cabinet on the Prime Minister’s meetings in the United States noting, among other things, the warm atmosphere which prevailed during all of the Prime Minister’s meetings, and the goodwill which the Administration has demonstrated in regard to offering Israel support and assistance for the sake of advancing the peace process and reducing the risks this may entail.

The Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister referred to the 15-month window of opportunity mentioned during the Prime Minister’s talks with the US President, and clarified Israel’s intention to embark on all tracks of the process, simultaneously, within a few weeks. Also noted was Israel’s commitment to the implementation of the Wye accord and to the red lines which the Prime Minister detailed to his American interlocutors. During the Prime Minister’s talks, the Syrian issue was also addressed, as were the various parameters relating to the negotiations between the parties.

The Foreign and Finance Ministers then detailed the economic issues that were discussed, including the allocation of over $1 billion for the implementation of the Wye accord, and the provision of military assistance over the next decade.

The Foreign Minister noted that the Prime Minister has welcomed the intention of the US Secretary of State to visit the region during the second half of August 1999, and that the Prime Minister’s talks have also addressed the issues of missing Israeli soldiers and Ron Arad, as well as other strategic and military issues.

2. At the request of the Education, Culture and Sport Minister, the Cabinet addressed the recent demonstrations on Jerusalem’s Bar-Ilan Street, with most Cabinet ministers participating and offering various positions during the protracted discussion. All ministers spoke of the need to prevent violence, uphold the law and show restraint. The ministers were also briefed on the calls, issued by various rabbis, to prevent the demonstrations and on the dialogue between the police and ultra-Orthodox leaders with respect to this matter.

At the end of the discussion, the Cabinet recorded the statement of the Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister calling to prevent violence on Bar-Ilan Street, to honor the existing agreement governing the thoroughfare, as approved by the High Court of Justice, and to respect the law.

The Cabinet added that it welcomes all efforts to prevent violence of any kind, as well as the initiative of Cabinet ministers and other involved parties to increase understanding and reduce tensions in this affair.

3. The Cabinet received a detailed briefing on the report of the genetic examination conducted on remains from the graves of children involved in the affair of the missing Yemenite children, and held a discussion on the matter. The Cabinet added the report to the official record.

4. It was agreed that, following the return of the Prime Minister and Defense Minister from the United States, at the request of the Environment Minister, the Cabinet will address the affair concerning the burial of the IDF naval commandos killed in Lebanon two years ago.

5. The Cabinet approved the dispatch of a number of bills to the Knesset, including a bill to amend and extend the validity of the emergency regulations dealing with the jurisdiction of Israeli courts over Israelis who commit offenses in Judea and Samaria and inside the Palestinian Authority, and with the jurisdiction to subscribe punishment and commit arrests in accordance with the legal situation that has been in effect during the past 30 years.

6. The Cabinet approved the Security Service Bill, which deals with extending compulsory IDF service from 30 months to three years. The law is submitted for extension biennially.

7. The Cabinet approved the appointment of the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs. The Cabinet also authorized the Committee to deal with the hundreds of private member’s bills submitted to the Knesset, and to formulate the Government’s position toward each of them.