(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 18 February 2007:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed his meeting tomorrow (Monday), 19 February 2007, with US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. From the outset, it was determined that the trilateral meeting would deal with the diplomatic horizons for continued contacts between Israel and the Palestinians.  However, in the wake of the Hamas-Fatah agreement and in light of the fact that this agreement does not recognize the Quartet rules, the unequivocal stand of both Israel and the international elements is that any Palestinian government that does not accept the Quartet conditions cannot receive recognition and there will be no cooperation with it. This position is identical to the American position on the issue; there is full agreement and full understanding regarding the status of the Palestinian government if indeed it becomes clear that it does not accept the conditions of the international community. To these – of course – must be added other commitments including the release of Gilad Shalit. From Israel’s point of view, a situation in which these commitments are not implemented in full cannot be countenanced.

Prime Minister Olmert briefed ministers on his visit to Turkey, including his meetings with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul ad Defense Minister Mehmet Vecdi Gonul. The Prime Minister noted that his high-profile visit was conducted in a very friendly atmosphere. His talks were serious and dealt with a broad range of issues, both diplomatic and regarding strategic cooperation.

The issue of the Mugrabi Gate Access Restoration Project excavations came up during Prime Minister Olmert’s meeting with his Turkish counterpart. It was agreed that a Turkish representative would come to Israel in order to see that the excavations do not damage the holy sites of other religions as was proposed to the representatives of other countries and in accordance with the policy of transparency that has been determined.

Prime Minister Olmert praised the Israeli cinema for its exceptional achievements at the Berlin Film Festival.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni briefed ministers on the preparations for tomorrow’s meeting and noted that the Hamas-Fatah agreements has changed the situation. She emphasized that the agreements do not meet the Quartet conditions, stressed that in Israel’s view, any future Palestinian government will be obligated to meet these conditions, and added that there can be no compromise on this issue. The Foreign Minister noted that she met with US Secy. of State Dr. Rice last night and that Prime Minister Olmert had spoken with US President George Bush – it is clear that as far as both Israel and the US are concerned, there is complete understanding that meeting the Quartet conditions is essential.

2. In reference to the 2007 Plan to Assist Sderot and the Communities in the Gaza Strip Area, the Cabinet decided to allocate NIS 2 million to improve the social services building in Sderot.

3. The Cabinet decided toincrease the number of jobs in Israel by adding communities to the list of those eligible to receive assistance in establishing telephone support call centers.

4. The Cabinet decided to approve the draft 2007 Electricity Law.

5. Pursuant to the 1949 Firearms Law, the Cabinet authorized Silver Shadow Advanced Security Systems, Ltd. to manufacture and assemble firearms for sale both in Israel and abroad.

6. The Cabinet discussed the 2005 Zeev Jabotinsky Law.

7. The Cabinet discussed the establishment of a national civilian service framework (the Ivri Committee report).

8. The Cabinet decided to extend the Tal Law for another five years. This position will be submitted to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee as it formulates its recommendation to the Knesset plenum.