(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 13 January 2008:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed US President George Bush’s visit to
Israel:

“US President George Bush concluded his visit to Israel
last Friday.  Although we have been in close and frequent contact with President Bush and his Administration during his seven years in office, and we enjoy very special, perhaps unprecedented bilateral relations, this was his first visit to Israel as President. In a few months, he will pay another official visit in order to attend the festivities marking 60 years of Israel’s independence, which is so significant for us.

Naturally, two main issues topped this visit’s agenda.  One was the negotiations between us and the Palestinian Authority.  The President was briefed, made his views known and reiterated the US’s absolute commitment that no agreement between us and the Palestinians can be carried out on the ground before the Roadmap is implemented in full, including all of its commitments regarding the security of the State of Israel both in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria.  There is no separation between the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria regarding the Palestinians’ commitments.  The US President said that we are discussing the establishment of two states for two peoples and not three states for two peoples.  The emphasis on this is very important.

The second issue that topped the agenda was dealing with the Iranian threat and challenge.  I reiterate what I told the US President – that, despite the report by the American intelligence services, Iran was, and continues to be, dangerous. Therefore, action must be taken to remove this danger, and the US is certainly aware of this.

Even though this is US President Bush’s last year in office, I believe that there is great consideration, deep significance and unprecedented sensitivity for the positions that the US will take this year, especially on matters that are sensitive vis-a-vis the security of the State of Israel.  I am pleased that I did not hear any serious suggestion that we sever ties with this President until his successor takes office because this is a decisive year and it is clear that there is a great friend of Israel in the White House.  The extremists both in the territories and in Iran will neither wait nor rest for a moment in their attempts to drag the region into instability.  We will continue to work intensively with the US administration in order to deal with these two issues that so dramatically affect our future and our security.”

2. ISA Director Yuval Diskin briefed ministers on current security matters including US President Bush’s visit to the Palestinian Authority.

3. Transportation and Road Safety Minister Shaul Mofaz and senior ministry and Israel Police officials briefed ministers on the struggle against road accidents in 2007. 

4. The Cabinet discussed a plan to encourage the use of clean energy and approved a plan based on the recommendations of the Committee on Green Taxation. 

5. The Cabinet amended its previous decision regarding the placement of temporary residential units at Shomria for former residents of Kfar Darom, canceling the minimum requirement of 20 families.

6. The Cabinet approved the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and Law Enforcement’s decision regarding amendments to legislation on private investigators and security services. 

7. Pursuant to the 1977 Airports Authority Law and in accordance with the recommendation of Transportation and Road Safety Minister Mofaz, the Cabinet approved the appointment of Yaacov Mor as Director-General of the Airports Authority in place of Gaby Ophir, whose term of office has expired.

8. The Cabinet discussed the plan to assist Holocaust survivors and improve support payments and pensions for the needy elderly.