(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, 2 November 2008:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert noted that today marks the beginning of the university academic year and commended the efforts of both Education Minister Dr. Yuli Tamir and the Government. 

2. Prime Minister Olmert said, “Of late, we have witnessed several very serious phenomena.  I would like to say at the outset that the overwhelming majority of residents in Judea and Samaria live there legally.  They are law-abiding citizens.  They love both the people and the land.  We have only high regard for them.  But there is also a small group of extremists who behave in a way that threatens proper law and governance in Judea and Samaria and in the entire country.  This is unacceptable and we cannot countenance it.  These violations of the law have been accompanied, more than once, by violent behavior toward security and law-enforcement personnel.  Attacking soldiers and their commanders, attacking policemen and other security personnel, and injuring them are unacceptable.  We are not prepared to countenance it and we will not.”

Prime Minister Olmert emphasized that measures would be taken so that the West Bank does not become Israel’s ‘Wild West’.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel Security Agency Director Yuval Diskin, Justice Minister Prof. Daniel Friedmann, Attorney-General Meni Mazuz, Public Security Minister Avi Dicter, Israel Police Deputy Inspector-General Shahar Ayalon and other senior officials briefed the Cabinet on the issue of law enforcement in Judea and Samaria, including relations between extremist settler groups and the security establishment, and the responses of the law enforcement system to the surging violence that threatens the rule of law.

Following the subsequent discussion, Prime Minister Olmert concluded as follows:

  • The recent disturbances constitute a threat to the rule of law in the entire country.
  • Dealing with the issues requires special preparations and cooperation between the IDF and the judicial and enforcement authorities operating in Judea and Samaria.
  • The necessary measures will be applied as needed, including increasing enforcement personnel, documenting disturbances, arresting those who break the law and bringing them quickly to trial, the use of administrative detention and distance orders, and such additional measures as may be necessary.
  • All possible measures will continue to be used in dealing with illegal construction.  Residents of Judea and Samaria will receive appropriate and effective responses vis-a-vis legal construction permits in accordance with the Government’s international commitments.
  • The judicial will formulate legal measures to increase the punishment of those who break the law along the lines that have been witnessed in recent weeks.
  • Justice Minister Friedmann, in cooperation with the legal establishment, will continue to initiate legislative amendments wherever existing measures are found to be ineffective and will act to complete legislative processes already underway.
  • Defense Minister Barak will be responsible for coordinating efforts on the issue, in cooperation with the ministries of Justice and Public Security, Vice Premier Haim Ramon (as Prime Minister Olmert’s representative), the IDF, the Israel Police, the ISA and Attorney-General Mazuz.
  • Defense Minister Barak will brief the Government on the issue and submit general recommendations within two weeks.
  • The involvement of public employees in incitement will be examined and appropriate measures will be taken against them.
  • All direct or indirect financial support of illegal outposts and their infrastructures will be halted.

3. Prime Minister Olmert paid tribute to Meretz MKs Yossi Beilin and Ran Cohen, who both announced their retirement from the Knesset. 

4. The Cabinet discussed the issue of employing foreign workers in order to encourage agricultural exports.