Jerusalem, 19 July 1998


(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 19.7.98:

1. The Prime Minister informed the Cabinet that he intends to reach an agreement with the Palestinians as soon as possible. The Defense Minister leaves for his meeting with the Palestinians along with the Prime Minister’s full and complete support in order to bring about the completion of the negotiations.

The Prime Minister said that he plans to take part in the negotiations in order to bring about their conclusion, adding that he has promised the citizens of Israel to abide by the terms of the Oslo Accords while standing firm on the principle of reciprocity and on limiting damage, first and foremost, in the territorial sphere. Accomplishments have been made in these areas, and we are able to reach a good agreement to be brought before the Government without any hesitations.

The Prime Minister further said that ongoing negotiations between the parties are required, and that he hopes the Palestinians will favorably respond to the call for uninterrupted negotiations, in order to bring about a conclusion to the talks. On our part, there is a clear determination to reach an agreement.

The Prime Minister said that, notwithstanding attempts to present the political efforts as futile, the Government intends to achieve an agreement and this requires the high-level involvement of both the Defense Minister and the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister emphasized that all proposals for an agreement will be brought before the Cabinet.

2. The Prime Minister said that there is no foundation to reports casting aspersions about Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres with respect to the Nahum Manbar affair. Both men acted as required, and all reports alleging any obstruction of the investigation or monitoring of Nahum Manbar are unfounded.

3. The Cabinet was briefed by the head of the GSS on security matters.

4. The Public Security Minister reported to the Cabinet on the attempted escape from Shatta Prison, concerning which a commission of inquiry has been established.

5. The Cabinet was briefed by the Absorption Minister on the activities of his ministry. The Prime Minister said that the objective of the State of Israel must be to bring an additional one million immigrants to Israel within the coming decade.