Jerusalem, 21 November 1999

Cabinet Communique

(Communicated by Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 21.11.99:

1. In the absence of Prime Minister Ehud Barak, today’s cabinet meeting was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister David Levy.

2. The Foreign Minister briefed the cabinet on the OSCE conference in Istanbul and the diplomatic meetings held there.

The head of the Israeli negotiating team with the Palestinians also briefed the Cabinet on the Palestinian positions regarding the second stage redeployment maps agreed to at Sharm el-Shiekh.

3. The Cabinet decided to recommend that the Knesset declare a State of Emergency, in accordance with Basic Law: Government, until 28.7.2000. On 1.2.99, the Knesset declared a State of Emergency for a period of one year, ending on 26.1.2000. In accordance with a previous Cabinet decision on this matter, work has begun on examining the legal arrangements affected by the existence of a State of Emergency and a number of laws of this type have already been abrogated. The procedures to prepare for the termination of the State of Emergency have been accelerated in recent months, with the objective of soon being able to avoid the necessity of having to request an additional extension of the State of Emergency.

4. The Cabinet approved – for immediately placement on the Knesset agenda – the draft bill on protection of intellectual property in respect of integrated circuits. The bill is intended to provide for the protection of intellectual property rights in accordance with the WTO Agreement of Trade Related Aspects of International Property Rights Including Trade in Counterfeit Goods (TRIPS) which Israel signed in 1995. [The bill will provide for the protection of intellectual property rights regarding the commercial research and development of integrated circuits while balancing the need to guarantee free competition and maximum distribution of knowledge in this field.]

5. The Cabinet approved the establishment of a National Environmental Council whose job will be to place environmental issues on the public agenda and before decision-makers at all levels. The Council will be comprised of representatives from a wide range of environmental, economic and social sectors in Israel.