Jerusalem, 16 December 1997


(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the Cabinet meeting yesterday (Tuesday), 16.12.97:

1. At the start of yesterday’s meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the establishment of a directors-general committee, headed by the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, that will deal with the emergency unemployment problems, especially the severe problem in Ofakim.

2. The Cabinet continued the political discussion. At the beginning of the meeting, the prime minister presented a number of aspects relating to the discussion, and stated the following:

A. The American administration has not been given maps, nor has it been told of the extent of the further redeployment. In addition, no agreement has been made to slow construction in Judea and Samaria.

B. The purpose of the discussions that the Cabinet is conducting is to clarify Israel’s interests in the negotiations on the final status agreement with the Palestinians.

C. One of the fundamental mistakes of the Oslo agreement is in determining a redeployment by Israel in the interim stage, without the government determining its objectives for the final status agreement. The Cabinet is now correcting this distortion, so that each interim step that it decides on will be compatible with Israel’s interests in the final status agreement.

D. A look at what has been presented to the government thus far, shows that up till now what we have in common is grater than what divides us. In any permanent settlement with the Palestinians, the areas and interests vital to Israel will be ensured: the Jordan Valley the security area in the east, the area around Jerusalem, a security area in the west along the line dividing the Palestinian Authority and Israel, the Jewish communities, their development areas and their approach roads, Israel’s vital water interests and sites of historical, religious or national value.

E. In concluding the discussion after it takes a field tour next week, the Cabinet will be able to determine Israel’s interests which it sees as the basis for negotiations on the final status agreement, and will be able to reach a decision on the interim stage of the further redeployment.

3. The Cabinet will continue its discussion on Wednesday morning, 17.12.97.

Jerusalem, 17 December 1997


(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday), 17.12.97:

1. The Cabinet continued the political discussion. The first draft of a document detailing the obligations of the Palestinians in accordance with the particulars of the Note for the Record of 15.1.97 (the document of responsibilities resulting from Hebron Agreement.)

2. Prime Minister Netanyahu told the ministers that in the meeting with Secretary of State Albright, he will explain Israel’s conception of its national interests.

3. Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that settlement is a national interest, and that Israel intends to maintain all the settlements, the areas surrounding them essential for their existence, and the network of roads leading to them.