Jerusalem, 29 November 1996


(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Friday), 29.11.96:

1. The Cabinet noted the 49th anniversary of the passage of the UN resolution leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that it is not the UN resolution, but rather Zionism which founded the State of Israel. However, without the 100 years of settlement which preceded the resolution, Zionism would not have been realized; and without the War of Independence, the State of Israel would not have been established. The UN resolution added international recognition of the right of the Jewish people to establish a state in its land. The Arabs who rejected the resolution 49 years ago are now seeking to roll back the course of events.

November 29 is a important date, but it is important only as one of the milestones in the Jewish people’s ongoing effort to reestablish its state.

Communications Minister Livnat showed the ministers the new edition of Theodor Herzl’s book The Jewish State, as well as the special commemorative envelope and phone card that her ministry has issued in honor of the 100th anniversary of the book’s publication.

2. The Prime Minister said that it was already possible to reach an agreement on the Hebron issue, if the Palestinian side would have decided that it wanted to conclude the negotiations. He said that those on the Palestinian side thought that it would be better to wait for the U.S. elections, afterwards for the Cairo conference, and now for the Lisbon conference, out of an illusion that these events would create pressure on the Israeli government.

Just has the U.S. elections and the Cairo conference did not produce such pressure, so too the Lisbon conference will not create such pressure, and in any case no pressure will be effective here.

Israel is prepared to reach an agreement on Hebron. What is required is a Palestinian decision to reach an agreement.

The Prime Minister emphasized that the agreement on Hebron would be brought to the Cabinet for its approval, after it is initialled.

As for the continuation of the process and the negotiations on the permanent settlement, the Prime Minister said that we must reach broad national agreement on these issues.

After the necessary preparations are carried out, there will also be a discussion in the Cabinet on this issue. Israel is presenting to the Palestinians its requirements for upholding its commitments according to the agreement in a reciprocal manner, in order to enable the process to move forward.

3. Foreign Minister Levy reported on his visit to Oslo, where he told his interlocutors that international influence must be used with Arafat, since his intention is not to reach an agreement on Hebron and to drag the process out. Responsibility for the fact that there is no agreement does not rest with Israel, he told them.