Jerusalem, 15 November 1998


(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 15.11.98:

1. The Defense Minister and IDF officers briefed the on the Persian Gulf crisis.

2. The Prime Minsiter said that while Israel is not involved in the Gulf crisis, the government will do everything necessary to protect the country’s security and insists on Israel’s right of self-defense.

3. Regarding the peace process, the Prime Minister said that Yasser Arafat’s statement on his intention to declare the establishment of a Palestinian state in May 1999, points to an intended fundamental violation of the agreement which will destroy the Oslo Accords, and also threatens the Wye Memorandum. The Palestinian Authority must refrain from this course of action.

The Prime Minister added that at the end of the redeployment, Israel will still be in full security control of 82% of the territory of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, of which 59-60% will be also under full Israeli civil control. According to the Oslo Accords, Israel was to have withdrawn from all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, except for settlements and designated military bases. According to Palestinian expectations, they were to have received 90-92% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. This was the process and these were the expectations which the government inherited and which it blocked and significantly reduced.

4. The Cabinet approved the recommendation of the Directors-General committee regarding the development of Bedouin settlements in the north for 1999-2003, for a total budget of NIS 614 million allocated for infrastructure, the construction of housing for discharged soldiers, and improving education and services for residents.

5. The Cabinet sharply condemned the anti-Semitic remarks which have been made recently by certain circles in Russia. The Prime Minister said that Israel will continue to be a warm home for Diaspora Jews and continue to act for the rights of Jews everywhere in the world.

6. The Science Minister raised the issue of the Governor of the Bank of Israel’s decision to raise interest rates and criticized this decision. The Cabinet debated the matter and the Prime Minister decided that the Cabinet would soon hold a macro-economic debate.

7. The Cabinet discussed the ongoing student strike. The Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office outlined the government’s proposal to the students. The Prime Minister decided that the negotiations with the students would be conducted in coordination by Finance and Education Ministers and the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office.