(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 27 May 2007:
1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed the continued firing of Kassam rockets at southern Israel, including the city of Sderot. He said that the IDF has been instructed to continue counter-terrorist operations and emphasized that no one involved in terrorism is immune.
Prime Minister Olmert said that recent events have taken a heavy emotional, mental and practical toll on the residents of southern Israel, including the city of Sderot. IDF Home Front Command is maintaining an unprecedented deployment throughout the region, as are the Israel Police and the relevant Government ministries, in order to respond to all problems that arise. He said that it must be clear to all Israelis in general, and to residents of the south in particular, that the Government will do its utmost in both the civil and military spheres, and that there will be no restrictions on action against terrorist elements and those responsible for terrorism.
2. Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and ISA Director Yuval Diskin briefed ministers on current diplomatic and security affairs regarding both Sderot and communities near the Gaza Strip and the region as a whole.
Defense Ministry Director-General Pinchas Buchris briefed ministers on various issues regarding assistance and structural protection for the residents of Sderot and communities near the Gaza Strip.
Defense Minister Peretz noted that 191 Kassam rockets and dozens of mortar rounds have been fired at Israeli territory since the escalation began. He said that the weekend was marked by a continuing decline in the number of rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. The Defense Minister commended the efforts of both the IDF and the Defense Ministry in providing support for residents of Sderot and the communities near the Gaza Strip, including hosting them at defense establishment facilities.
Foreign Minister Livni noted that the international community is monitoring the escalation in the Gaza Strip with increasing concern.
3. The Cabinet approved a NIS 260,589 budget for the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority for 2007.
4. The Cabinet discussed the continued development of the ports of Haifa and Ashdod.
5. In the framework of the plans to aid Sderot and the communities near the Gaza Strip in 2007, the Cabinet decided to update the geographic demarcation of "greater Sderot". In a 2004 decision, the Cabinet defined "greater Sderot" to include the Municipality of Sderot and those areas bordering on the city that – inter alia – serve it.
In March 2007, the Israel Land Administration decided to extend the validity of favorable land price terms for "greater Sderot" until 31 December 2007. The ILA determined that when and if the Cabinet decides that the employment zone (as per Plan #28/303/02/7) is within "greater Sderot", the favorable terms would be extended to it as well.