Jerusalem, 22 July 2001

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 22.7.2001:

1. Prime Minister Sharon referred to the statement of the G8 summit in Genoa saying there can be no resolution to this issue without our consent. The Prime Minister noted that Israel’s position on this issue is clear and well-known.

2. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer briefed the Cabinet on current security issues, and noted that since the Tenet document, the Palestinians perpetrated over 600 attacks. The Defense Minister referred to the attack perpetrated last Thursday in Idna in which three members of the Tmeizi family were murdered. The Prime Minister and all ministers severely and completely condemned this criminal murder.

3. Jerusalem District Police Commander Major-General Mickey Levy reviewed current issues before the cabinet, and reported on the 16th Maccabiah opening ceremonies in Jerusalem, relating to the great effort invested securing the event. Prime Minister Sharon, on his own behalf and that of the government, thanked the Israel Police and its officers, and other security services for their actions and efforts in guarding the Maccabiah.

4. The Cabinet authorized the ministerial committee on legislation to discuss and approve a draft law on the prevention of travel to enemy countries – an amendment to the order extending the validity of emergency regulations.

Restrictions on travel outside the country for reasons of state security, traveling to certain countries and entry to them (even indirectly) are set forth in the order extending the validity of the 1948 emergency regulations (on travel abroad).

Regulation #5 bans citizens or residents of Israel from entering – by any route – countries listed in Article 2A of the law on preventing infiltrations without a permit from the interior minister. The entry of a citizen or resident of Israel into such a country constitutes a criminal offense; however, this does not apply to Knesset members.

Regulation #17 determines that these provisions do not apply – inter alia – to "persons holding diplomatic or service passports of the State of Israel." Since MKs are – by law – entitled to service passports when traveling abroad, the aforementioned restrictions do not apply to them.

There is no substantive justification to the fact that the ban on travel to enemy countries (without permission from the interior minister) does not apply to MKs.

It seems that the non-applicability of ban on such travel was designed for official emissaries who are traveling to enemy countries for diplomatic purposes and was not designed to protect MKs who abuse their service passports for the purpose of trips banned by law.

5. The Cabinet also authorized the ministerial committee on legislation to approve a draft law on illegal presence in the country and submit it to the Knesset. The current law on the subject was originally approved in 1996; its validity has been periodically extended and it is now valid until 14.3.2002.

The law bans – inter alia – rendering assistance (in employment, lodgings, transport, etc.) to residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip who are in the country illegally. Due to the current worsening of the security situation in the country, security officials have cited the need to strengthen the measures that may be applied to those who violate the law. Thus, the ministerial committee on legislation has been authorized to approve the aforementioned draft law.

6. The cabinet approved the appointment of Avner Barazani to the position of Director-General of the Public Security Ministry in place of outgoing Director-General Aryeh Fishman. The appointment twill take effect on 1.9.2001.