Jerusalem, 10 August 1997


(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 10.08.97:

1. The Prime Minister reported that American envoy Dennis Ross’s visit is focusing on security issues. The Prime Minister said that at this morning’s meeting with Dennis Ross, it was emphasized that without a fundamental change by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in how it deals with security issues, the political process will not be able to advance. The Prime Minister emphasized that Israel is not prepared to accept a situation in which terrorist bases and cities of refuge for terrorists exist in the PA areas, close to Israeli cities, while the PA is not fulfilling its obligation and is not fighting against the terrorists’ bases of operation. In order for it to be possible to advance the political process, the PA must deal with the problem of terrorism.

The Prime Minister also responded to Yasser Arafat’s remarks in a Israel Television interview, and emphasized that as of today, the PA has not returned to jail all of the terrorists which it had released. Israel has demanded that they be returned to prison. Israel has also not prevented meetings with American security experts, and in contradiction to Arafat’s remarks, Israeli officers did not tell Arafat that the terrorists who perpetrated the attack in Mahane Yehuda came from abroad. According to the Prime Minister, there has been no fundamental change in the PA’s policy toward terrorism.

2. The Prime Minister strongly criticized the distorted leaks from last Friday’s meeting of the Ministerial Committee on National Security. The Prime Minister emphasized that he never said that the security establishment was presenting distorted information, nor did he complain about the facts which were presented. His sole complaint was that the issue had become part of a public debate.

3. The Minister of Education, Culture and Sport raised the issue of the remarks which an IDF officer had made regarding the Druze who serve in the IDF. The Prime Minister and the Defense Minister pointed out that this was a stupid, irresponsible comment, which the government condemned.

4. The Cabinet ratified a series of cooperation agreements with Madagascar, Poland and Paraguay, and agreements with El Salvador and Panama regarding the use of passports.

5. The Cabinet decided according to a proposal by the Prime Minister to apply section 15A(a) of the State Service (Appointments) Law of 1959 to all local authorities. According to this section of the law, appropriate representation will be given, in accordance with the relevant circumstances, to both genders in the workplace.

6. The Cabinet approved the proposal of the Civil Service Commissioner to exempt Supreme Court judges’ legal assistants, and assistants to the directors-general of government ministries, from having to compete for their positions via public tenders.

7. The cabinet confirmed Communications Minister Limor Livnat’s recommendation regarding the expansion and reorganization of Public TV and Radio broadcasting system (Peled Report), as follows:

A) To establish an addition commercial TV station by the end of 1999.

B) To regularize, in particular through legislation, satellite TV broadcasts.

C) To act to open radio broadcasting to free competition, in addition to the transition to digital radio broadcasting.

D) To separate between content contractors and running service contractors and transition to group method, by cable.

E) To act to allocate a country-wide radio license for a religious and heritage channel, by tender.

F) To prepare and bring to confirmation by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation a draft copy to unify all existing communications legislation.

G) To act to establish a Public National Broadcasting Authority, no later than the end of 1999.

H) To act to establish a Public Complaints Council whose authority will cover all broadcasting bodies in Israel.

The cabinet authorized Communications Minister Livnat to establish an Inter- ministerial Regulation and Establishment Committee to oversee the implementation of these decisions. The Committee will be headed by a Steering Committee whose chairman will appointed by the prime minister.

Summarizing the issue, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel’s communications map is facing a dramatic change; the Prime Minister thanked the Peled Committee, the Communications Minister and other ministers who assisted in the matter.