(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 3.8.97:
1. The Defense Minister, the IDF Chief of The General Staff, the Director of the GSS and the Director of Research at the IDF Intelligence Branch briefed the Cabinet.
2. The Prime Minister said that the security services have been directed to act against the terrorist organizations. Against this background, activity of the security forces is being carried out in Area B. The Prime Minister emphasized that Israel has declared war against terrorism, and not against the Palestinian people. We demand that the Palestinian Authority fulfill its obligation and fight terrorism. The Prime Minister pointed out that the political process will not be able to move forward as long as the Palestinian Authority does not fight terrorism. The transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority has been suspended, and is being re-examined in light of progress in the Palestinian Authority’s actions against terrorism. We have also passed along concrete demands to the Palestinian Authority for actions which it is required to take, in accordance with the agreement.
The Prime Minister added that the future of the Oslo Agreement depends on Arafat. If Arafat honors his commitments under the agreement, first and foremost the war on terrorism, the agreement will succeed. If he does not, we will not unilaterally honor our commitments, and the agreement cannot survive. It is the Cabinet’s decision and intention to see to it that the Palestinian side honors the agreement; without this there can be no progress in the peace process.
The Defense Minister said that the Palestinian Authority was not acting against Hamas and its infrastructure, despite the repeated appeals to the Authority in this regard, which have been made at every meeting with it over the past year. We are currently pressuring the Palestinian Authority to initiate widespread activity against the infrastructure of the terrorist organizations, especially Hamas. Up until now, the Palestinian Authority has been carrying out localized activity only; it has not initiated widespread activity against the terrorist organizations’ infrastructure.
The Defense Minister also reported to the Cabinet that Palestinian radio broadcasts will be jammed, if they are used to disseminate incitement. This is in keeping with the decision of the Ministerial Committee on Security Affairs, according to which the broadcasts will not be jammed on a regular basis; the intention is to jam in order to prevent the broadcasting of incitement.
The Foreign Minister said that Israel was taking steps which have not been taken in the past as a way of pressuring the Palestinian Authority into living up to its commitments. He added that Israel would continue to take steps it had decided upon until the Palestinian Authority takes satisfactory practical steps. We expect the Palestinian Authority to take aggressive measures against the terrorist organizations and their infrastructures. As long as the Palestinian Authority does not do so, it is not fulfilling its basic commitments according to the agreement. If it becomes clear that the Palestinian Authority is taking genuine steps to fulfil its commitments, we will also fulfil our commitments.
3. The Cabinet appointed Ya’acov Katz to the position of Director-General of the Ministry of National Infrastructure, in place of Giora Rom.
4. The Cabinet decided to set up a committee of directors-general to deal with unemployment, led by the Director-General of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. The committee will develop recommendations for coping with the large numbers of unemployed, mainly in outlying areas, and will work to coordinate joint action by the government ministries in the areas of employment and training.
5. The Cabinet decided according to the proposal of the Prime Minister that the Justice Minister should appoint a committee of three, to be headed by a retired judge. The committee’s task will be to discuss legal suits brought by immigrants from the former Soviet Union against bodies, individuals or companies which dealt with the transfer of immigrants’ funds to Israel, and to order the payment from government funds to every immigrant claiming a sum, of up to 75% of the balance of the debt owed by the sued company to the immigrant.
6. The Cabinet ratified the foreign service appointments which it had approved by telephone vote on 14.7.97.