(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 27.6.99: 1. At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister related to events on the northern border.
The Prime Minister said that the attacks on infrastructure targets in Lebanon constitute the implementation of the Government’s policy that Israel will not remain idle in the face of an assault on its residents, and will respond in a most severe manner. For now, at least, this message has been heard in Lebanon and Syria. There will not be a situation where residents of Israel are killed and sit in shelters, while life in Lebanon continues as normal. We have no right to accept the fact that our citizens are attacked in the north of the country, and the approach we have taken is important — not only along the northern border, but also in light of the missile age.
The Prime Minister added that Israel is prepared to continue dealing painful blows should the attacks against the communities of northern Israel resume. This policy of reprisals will lay the foundation for an IDF departure from Lebanon, while clarifying Israel’s readiness to take aggressive action against infrastructure targets in Lebanon, in response to attacks on communities in northern Israel.
The Defense Minister said that Syria is in control of Lebanon. Hizballah actions are carried out with Syrian consent, and their cessation also comes at the instruction of the Syrians. If the new government consents to descend from the Golan Heights, this will be interpreted as an act of surrender to Hizballah attacks against Israel — which are the means through which Syria is trying to bring Israel to its knees.
2. The Finance Minister informed the Cabinet that, today, he will sign an order offering compensation for damages to residents of confrontation line communities in the north, following recent security-related incidents. As opposed to the current arrangement, the order will cover damages beyond the first 24 hours. The order will also offer compensation for damages inflicted during the incident which occurred on the night of the elections.
3. The Cabinet decided on the formation of a committee to examine all the damages caused to residents and businesses situated along the northern border, including ongoing damages, in an effort to offer fair compensation for all damages caused to economic concerns along the northern border. The committee will be comprised of representatives from the Finance (chairman), Industry and Trade, Tourism, Justice and Agriculture Ministries, as well as a representative of the confrontation line communities.
The committee will submit its conclusions within one month.
4. The Cabinet decided to introduce a program to promote tourism to northern Israel, to be jointly financed by the Finance and Tourism Ministries.
5. The Cabinet was briefed by the Police Inspector-General, who detailed the accomplishments of the Israel Police and presented statistics pointing to a decrease in crime during 1999. The Prime Minister and the other ministers thanked the Inspector-General and the police for their activities.
6. At the end of the meeting, the Prime Minister and the other ministers thanked the Attorney-General for his work with the Government.