Jerusalem, 16 December 2001

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), December 16, 2001:

1. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer briefed the Cabinet on current security issues noting that the attack near Emmanuel illustrates the responsibility of the PA, and its leadership, for the continuing campaign of terror against Israel.

The PA knows very well what stands behind the attack, and are very familiar with the preparations in advance of the attacks, and the dangers embodied in it – and stood by doing nothing. Therefore, and in light of the intolerable situation, Israel has decided that what Arafat will not do to root out terrorism, Israel will take upon itself to do as much as it takes. Israel translated this decision into a series of continuing operational steps, the goal of which is to damage the sources of terror, the terrorist infrastructure, the terrorist collaborators and their supporters; it is in this spirit that the security establishment is operating.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer reviewed the IDF’s operations over the past number of days in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and explained last night’s IDF operation in Beit Hanoun.

2. The Cabinet voted to authorize the Finance Ministry’s proposal to adjust (cut) the proposed 2002 budget by 6.15 billion shekels. The Finance Ministry will present a number of alternative options for making the adjustments to the Cabinet in a meeting to take place during the course of this week. A vote on the specific details of the adjustments will take place at the upcoming Cabinet meeting this week.