Jerusalem, 30 August 1996


(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Friday), 30.08.96:

1. The Cabinet accepted a proposal by the Prime Minister and made the following decision:

A. The Prime Minister will appoint a team to conduct the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on the implementation of the interim agreement, including the issue of Hebron.

B. The team will be instructed by the Prime Minister, with the participation of the Foreign Minister and the Defense Minister.

C. Agreement on the negotiations which the team will conduct will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval. During the discussion, the Prime Minister said the following:

"The current government has changed the direction of the political negotiations vis-a-vis the Palestinian Authority. The current government is leading a new path. The government insists on the mutual honoring of commitments. Under the previous government there was a loss of direction, they did not insist that the Palestinian Authority fight terrorism, until we reached the large wave of attacks, which only in its wake, did the Palestinian Authority begin to operate in this area.

The current government is also not prepared to overlook the fundamental violations on the issue of Jerusalem, and desires that the situation be remedied, as has indeed been done."

The Prime Minister briefed the ministers that the intention is that the steering committees meet next week and begin negotiations on various issues, included that of Hebron, which is the most complex. During the negotiations, there will be consultations with additional ministers according to the particular issue, in accordance with the needs of the negotiations.

2. The Transportation Minister announced the appointment of a public committee to formulate recommendations regarding transportation on Shabbat, chaired by Dr. Tzvi Tzameret.

The Prime Minister wished the committee success and said in this regard that "the attacks and threats on the Supreme Court and Justice Barak are deplorable and illegitimate," and requested the Public Security Minister to deal vigorously with these threats, which are dangerous and must be uprooted. While there can be legitimate debate regarding the authority of the Supreme Court vis-a-vis the legislative authority, it is absolutely forbidden for this debate to deviate from the framework of the law and the culture of government.

The Cabinet condemns the attacks and threats on the Supreme Court and the President of the Supreme Court which have been made in recent weeks.

There is a danger hidden in these attacks which could undermine the confidence of the public or part of it in the judicial authority as a whole, and the Supreme Court in particular. Public confidence in the independence of the judicial authority, with the Supreme Court at its head, is one of the main principles of the existence of the rule of law and the preservation of a democratic regime in the State of Israel.

The Supreme Court has exercised judicial review over governmental decisions since the foundation of the state. Over the years, there were various segments of the public which complained against rulings of the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court always saw fit to operate wisely and strongly to establish the rule of law and preserve civil rights in Israeli society.

Even if a particular decision of the Supreme Court was not to the liking of some segment of the public, this does not negate the obligation to respect the law and respect the court’s rulings. The test of the existence of the rule of law is in honoring the rulings, even if they reject the claims of a particular litigant.

Supreme Court rulings are, of course, subject to substantive public criticism, however there is no place to convert this substantive criticism into an attack on the judicial authority, and those dependent on it. Such attacks are liable to cause the democratic regime in Israel to be seriously harmed. Therefore, the government appeals to the entire public to act with restraint, respect the law and court rulings, hold substantive dialogue on public issues, and refrain from attacks and threats on the Supreme Court and its judges.

C. The Cabinet approved the State of Israel’s joining the Third Appendix to the International Treaty on the Prevention of Maritime Pollution.

D. The Cabinet approved the appointment of attorney Tzippi Libni as director of the Government Corporations Authority, in place of Tamar Ben- David.

E. The Cabinet approved the appointment of David Broch as director of Ministry of Industry and Trade Investments Center, in place of Moshe Dovrat.

F. The Education, Sport, and Culture Minister briefed the Cabinet on the opening of the academic year.

G. The Cabinet made decisions to reduce the number of foreign workers [in Israel]. An interministerial authority was established to operate vigorously to implement Cabinet decisions, and submit its recommendations within 30 days.