(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 13.9.98:
1. The Prime Minister briefed the Cabinet on the political negotiations.
The Prime Minister said that there has been progress in discussions with the Palestinians toward certain understandings, but the Palestinians have retreated from these understandings. Thus far, Israel has fulfilled its part, without receiving fundamental compensation from the Palestinians in the form of an all-out and methodical war on terrorism, which should be the basis for any genuine peace settlement.
On the fifth anniversary of the Oslo Accord, it is important to state that Israel remains committed to the agreement faulty as it may be on condition that it is upheld by the other side, primarily in the sphere of the war on terrorism.
The Prime Minister praised the IDF, the GSS and all the security forces for their activities to thwart terrorist attacks. He also said that the Awadallah brothers were in the midst of preparations for the perpetration of attacks. Hamas members were involved in preparations to carry out terrorist attacks before the Awadallah brothers were killed, and these attempts continue. Cabinet ministers expressed their support for the actions of the security forces, both for the killing of the Awadallah brothers and for their efforts to foil terrorist attacks.
2. With respect to Hamas threats to perpetrate large-scale terrorist attacks, the Prime Minister said that, if this were to happen, there would be a harsh Israeli response. Israel will not tolerate any attack against its citizens, and will take swift action against the organizations of murderers. The Prime Minister also said that Israel calls on the Palestinian Authority to fight the terrorist groups organizing and operating from the areas under its control. This is the duty of the Palestinian Authority, in accordance with the agreement, and this is its responsibility if it wants genuine peace with the State of Israel.
3. The Cabinet was briefed on security matters by the Defense Minister, the Chief-of-Staff and the head of Military Intelligence.
4. The Cabinet resumed its discussion of the State budget. The Prime Minister said, at the start of the discussion, that responsibility rests upon the Government’s shoulders. Not everyone can receive the budget he would want. The cabinet must approve a budget which offers solutions to the war on unemployment and to investments in infrastructure, while maintaining economic stability in the face of the world economic crisis.
5. The discussion on the State budget is continuing.