Jerusalem, October 5, 1997

CABINET COMMUNIQUE

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 5.10.97:

1. The Prime Minister said that Israel cannot confirm or relate to the various reports which have been published in the media regarding the alleged attack in Jordan. The Prime Minister added that it is "the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens and to fight terrorism. I wish to clarify that we are witness to irresponsible attacks against the government, which in large part derive from unacceptable and unmistakable political motives, while distorting the facts and endangering vital interests of the State of Israel." The National Infrastructure Minister said that the media reports regarding the operation cannot be referred to at this time. Members of the government are prevented at this stage from responding to matters which we know to be incorrect.

2. The cabinet approved the proposals of the Communications Minister and the Education, Culture and Sports Minister to amend the Bezeq Law and the Second [Television] Channel Law according to which:

A. The Second Channel Committee and the Cable TV Committee, each in its respective field, will permit local radio and TV cable stations to transmit news and national current affairs programs rather than local news and current affairs programs only.

B. The Second Channel Committee will not decide on extending the television broadcasting franchise before the termination of the initial five year franchise.

3. The cabinet also ratified a treaty with the Republic of [South] Korea, regarding the prevention of tax evasion on income and capital gains.

CABINET STATEMENT

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

The following statement was released today (Sunday), 5.10.97, after the weekly Cabinet meeting.:

1. The Government of Israel refrains at this time from commenting on media reports regarding activities against Hamas leader Haled Mashaal, considered to be the prominent figure in Hamas and responsible for the murder of innocent Israeli civilians.

2. The government’s responsibility is to protect the lives of its citizens and to fight uncompromisingly against terrorism.

3. Without referring to the publicity regarding the attempted attack on Haled Mashaal, it should be noted that Israel’s decision-making process is such that the relevant security and intelligence branches bring their recommendations to a forum consisting of the heads of these branches, and afterwards to the Prime Minister for authorization. Under no circumstances is the process forcibly reversed.

4. We are witness to irresponsible attacks at home on the Prime Minister, which derive, in large part, from unacceptable partisan political motives, while disseminating lies and distorting facts, and which harm vital national interests of the State of Israel.

5. False charges are being published, thus cynically exploiting a situation in which the government is, at present, refraining from comment.