Jerusalem, 12 September 1996


(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At its weekly meeting today (Thursday), 12.09.96:

1. The Prime Minister briefed the Cabinet on his trip to the United States in the wake of an invitation by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The Prime Minister said that the present government’s relationship to the U.S. Jewish community is different from that of the previous government. First of all, the State of Israel is the country of the Jewish people with equality of rights for non-Jewish minorities in order to nurture relations with the Diaspora Jewish communities.

The Prime Minister reported that in his meeting with President Clinton two subjects were discussed: the Palestinian issue, and the Syrian issue. On the former, we clarified that we are now beginning practical talks with the Palestinians.

The Prime Minister reported that the U.S. administration saw a trend towards upholding the agreement with the Palestinians. He also reported that in his conversations with the U.S. President, he clarified our position that the Palestinian Authority must continuously uphold its commitments concerning Jerusalem. In the meeting, the Prime Minister said that newspaper reports concerning late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s indirect agreement to withdraw from the Golan Heights to the 4 June 1967 lines, on condition that a number of conditions be carried out on the Syrian side an agreement which was submitted to the United States were correct. Rabin’s agreement was unwritten.

Today, the accepted position of the U.S. government is that hypothetical statements made by the previous government during negotiations are not binding on the current Israeli government. The Prime Minister reported that we are now in the midst of an American attempt to find a bridging formula for the resumption of talks with the Syrians with the understanding that we do not accept the statements or positions of the previous government. The next phase is an attempt to reach an American- Syrian understanding on this matter. It is still unclear whether Syria will be willing to resume the talks. We will soon know if there is a change in this regard.

2. The Foreign Minister briefed the Cabinet on his visit to Europe, and on his meetings with various European heads of state. The European position is different from ours, but this was a first opportunity for the Government to present its positions and demands to our counterparts in the political negotiations, as well as our demand for an international front against terrorism and our opposition to all political activity in Jerusalem. Our political situation in Europe, in the wake of direct contacts and the dialogue with those same countries, is now better than before. During the European trip, bilateral and economic issues were also discussed, and the trip made an important contribution to strengthening ties and cooperation between Israel and Europe. During his visit, the Foreign Minister made it clear that the Orient House will not serve as a political address.

3. The Tourism Minister briefed the Cabinet on his visit to Jordan, during which he met with Crown Prince Hassan and Prime Minister Kabariti. Their talks addressed the need to advance the treaty between the two countries, as well as the joint projects on the agenda. Jordan is about to appoint a tourism attache to serve at the Jordanian embassy in Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that an office will soon be established to coordinate inter-ministerial efforts to implement the peace treaty with Jordan; he also instructed the various ministries to concentrate on the accelerated implementation of the agreement with Jordan.

4. The Cabinet decided to create an inter-ministerial committee, headed by the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office, to deal with the damages caused by the fire in Kiryat Anavim and its environs. The National Infrastructure Minister, who presented the proposed decision to the Cabinet, noted the need to correct the damage and return life to normal. Given the urgency of the issue, the Cabinet instructed the committee to submit its recommendations within two weeks. According to the proposal of the Prime Minister, the committee will also deal with recommendations to rapidly implement the recommendations contained in the Lapidot report. The Interior and Public Security Ministers will submit further proposals on dealing with the war against fires.

5. The Cabinet resolved to add members to the public committee deciding on the use of bequests to the State.

6. The Cabinet ratified amendments to the founding charters of the International Telecommunication Union, the Universal Postal Union, Intelsat and Immersat.

7. The Cabinet ratified agreements on postal and telecommunications cooperation with Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Cyprus and China.

8. The Cabinet approved the appointment of members to the Cable Broadcasting Council.