(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 14 October 2007:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Israel and other countries. He said that the visit would last several days and would be devoted to talks with us and with others regarding contacts between us and the Palestinians ahead of the international meeting due to be held in the US in late November.

Prime Minister Olmert noted that in recent months he has held talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and has reached a large degree of understanding with him regarding the outline of the contacts as they need to be held, mainly that the process of dialogue between us and the Palestinians must be balanced, careful and considered with the intention of reaching a joint declaration during the international meeting – such a declaration having never been a condition to the holding of the meeting.

Prime Minister Olmert said: “We are very interested that, following the international meeting, if there is a declaration, that its bases be approved by the relevant parties, both with us and the Palestinians, and that discussions begin thereafter regarding the possibility of the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel, without defining an exact timetable for the beginning and conclusion of the process. I believe that setting a timetable in advance for such a process would create more problems than it would resolve and would create obstacles; we must be very careful in setting timetables.

We discussed this at last week’s Cabinet meeting. In the coming weeks, I certainly intend – in the Cabinet, the Security Cabinet and in other forums – to hold discussions in order to enable us to advance the contacts with the Palestinian side in order to – in the first stage – reach a joint declaration that will would deal with the foundations that form the basis for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

Over the weekend, I decided to appoint Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to chair the team that will oversee the contacts with the Palestinians.”

2. Prime Minister Olmert – on both his behalf and that of the Cabinet – conveyed his condolences to Foreign Minister Livni on the passing of her mother Sarah, a veteran of the pre-state Irgun Zva’i Leumi.

3. Prime Minister Olmert wishes Muslims in Israel and in neighboring countries a happy Eid al-Fitr holiday. He said that he wishes that the values of the holiday – closeness, sharing with others, concern for others and inner calm – inspire the diplomatic process and that we all merit peace in the coming year.

4. Transportation and Road Safety Minister Shaul Mofaz and other senior ministry officials briefed ministers on the issue of civil aviation safety.

5. The Cabinet decided to aid regular airline service between northern and central Israel.

6. The Cabinet determined as follows regarding the National Security Council:

The NSC will serve as a staff organization for the prime minister and the government regarding national security.

The prime minister will direct and be responsible for the NSC, and will be entitled to assign to it responsibilities regarding national security. The NSC’s responsibilities will be as follows:

 I) To coordinate the staff work of the government, the Ministerial Committee on National Security and any other relevant ministerial committee, and to prepare their discussions and monitor the implementation of their decisions;
II) To submit – to the prime minister – proposed agendas for meetings of the Ministerial Committee on National Security;
III) To coordinate staff work for the prime minister in the area of national security, and to formulate assessments and issue recommendations to the prime minister;
IV) To prepare and submit – to the Ministerial Committee on National Security – annual and multi-year assessments on the national security situation, and to prepare situation assessments regarding various matters related to national security, as the Prime Minister sees fit;
V) To prepare staff work for the prime minister ahead of discussions on the security budget and the budgets of security bodies subordinate to the prime minister, including the formulation of alternatives;
VI) To operate a Prime Minister’s Office national crisis and emergency management center; and
VII) To oversee – on the prime minister’s behalf – interministerial and inter-organizational staff work regarding national security.

The NSC Chairman will be permanently invited to all meetings of the Ministerial Committee on National Security, the Cabinet, other relevant ministerial committees and the committee of security service directors.

7. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet appointed Shlomit Amihai as Director-General of the Education Ministry to replace Shmuel Abuav, effective as of today.

8. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet appointed Haim Fialkov as Director-General of the Construction and Housing Ministry.

9. The Cabinet decided that Interior Minister Meir Shetrit would issue entry visas for groups regarding conversion and the acquisition of citizenship only with government approval and in accordance with special criteria that he would submit to the Cabinet.

10. The Cabinet discussed the development of the Be’er Sheva Science Park in the framework of the Galilee and Negev Development Plan.

11. The Cabinet discussed the disruptions in receiving Yes company broadcasts.