Jerusalem, 10 November 1999

PM Barak Briefs Cabinet on Paris Meetings

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

At the Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday), 10.11.99, Prime Minister Ehud Barak briefed the government on his visit to Paris and expressed his satisfaction at the goodwill which the world community is showing towards Israel today. He emphasized the importance that he places on the diplomatic struggle and in clarifying Israel’s basic positions on the peace process, especially in light of the erosion in Israel’s international status in recent years.

Prime Minister Barak referred to the public debate regarding United Nations Security Council Resolution 242: "Resolution 242 is part of our international agreements and it naturally applies to our dialogue with the Palestinians. Precisely for this reason, and in light of the coming crucial discussions, we must present the proper relationship between the Resolution and the situation in Judea and Samaria. In contrast to Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, with whom we had recognized international borders prior to the wars that led to the occupation of territory, in the case of the territory known as the West Bank, there is not now, nor has there ever been, a border that can be a reference point for negotiations."

Prime Minister Barak emphasized the importance of the clause in Resolution 242 that refers to the necessity for defensible borders in light of the character of the region in which we live. "We are not flying in a balloon over the skies of Europe; our feet are on the ground of the Middle East. Here, a fundamentalist wave can sweep an entire country; here, a terrorist attack can be launched against Israel; here, conventional militaries can try to eliminate Israel; and here, an irresponsible tyrant can launch missiles against peoples’ homes. All this has already happened – and can still happen – in the Middle East. Therefore, our determination to insist on secure borders is not some caprice or excuse, but a genuine need and one of our responsibilities for the future existence of the State of Israel." He concluded that these basic positions are being brought to the attention of world leaders.