Jerusalem, 24 October 1999

Barak Calls for Separation from Palestinians

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

At the Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 24.10.99, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak expounded on his belief in the need for a physical separation between Israel and the Palestinians – as a logical imperative – from a political, security, moral and economic standpoint. At the same time, the Prime Minister added, this is not to be misconstrued as an attempt to sever all contact with the Palestinian Authority.

"We are talking about a separation that will create good neighborly relations, mutual respect and cooperation – and give expression to the interests of both sides."

Noting that he recognizes the importance of Palestinian laborers employed in Israel for the developing Palestinian economy, Prime Minister Barak also said that he does not seek to cause harm to the economy of the Palestinian Authority, but, to the contrary, that he wants to assist in its development – which is also in the "long-term, security interest of the State of Israel."