Jerusalem, 23 August 1998


(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 23.8.98:

1. The Cabinet was briefed on security matters by the Defense Minister and the IDF Chief-of-Staff. The Defense Minister emphasized that the defense establishment is doing everything possible to prevent, uncover and foil terrorist attacks. The recent incident at Tel Rumeida was a cold-blooded murder of a good- hearted, God-fearing man. The defense establishment will make additional efforts to locate the terrorist cells and strike at them, while also doing everything possible to protect the Israeli residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Security activity of all types, including defensive and active measures, will be intensified. The Defense Minister emphasized that, of late, certain activities have successfully prevented terrorist attacks. The war against terrorism is unceasing and Israel will do everything possible to protect its citizens wherever they may be.

2. The Prime Minister said that at issue is the murder of a Jew in his bed at the site of the Jewish people’s most ancient community. Israelis must not engage in internal arguments, but unite around the fundamental principles which guide us. Those who believe that they will weaken the Jewish community by attacking it are making a serious mistake. The blood of Jews is not cheap, whether they live in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Hebron all are citizens of Israel who deserve protection. The residents of Hebron live in the heart of the Jewish homeland and therefore are all the more worthy of security and protection. Israel will fight terrorists everywhere, including those attacking settlers in Judea and Samaria. It will not be restricted to the pursuit of murderers.

The Government demands that the Palestinian Authority also act against the terrorist organizations. Under no circumstances will Israel agree that murderers move freely about in the territory under PA control; that is one of Israel’s basic demands of the PA. Israel demands that the PA condemn the murders and cease granting any legitimacy to attacks on Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria something which violates both the language and spirit of the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Prime Minister said that among Israel’s demands of the PA are, first and foremost, the implementation of all its obligations to Israel and, above all else,. a full and uncompromising struggle against terrorism and the annulment of the Palestinian charter, which refers to the destruction of Israel.

3. The Prime Minister said that Government policy is to strengthen and develop the Jewish settlement in Hebron, including Tel Rumeida which is Tel Hebron. The Government will permit, as soon as possible, the construction of permanent buildings at the site and will carry out all necessary legal procedures to do so. The precise nature and location of the buildings will be determined by the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister.

4. Regarding the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, the Prime Minister said that gaps have been narrowed, but no agreement has been reached. A discussion on all aspects of reciprocity is still needed. It is clear that if an agreement is achieved, the Government will immediately enter into negotiations on the permanent settlement.

5. The Prime Minister briefed the ministers on his talks with President Clinton, following the American attacks in Sudan and Afghanistan. Israel stands behind the United States in its struggle against international terrorism. He added that reports according to which the Mossad or other Israeli figures participated in the preparations for the American operation are simply untrue.

6. The Cabinet confirmed the appointment of most members of the Israel Broadcasting Authority Plenum.