Jerusalem, 8 November 2000

Cabinet Appoints Judicial Commission of Inquiry
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

At the initiative of Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the Cabinet today (Wednesday), November 8, 2000, decided to appoint a state commission of inquiry – under the 1968 Commission of Inquiry Act – to investigate the clashes between the security forces and Israeli Jewish and Arab citizens, including those in which Israeli Jewish and Arab citizens were injured and/or killed. The commission will be asked to inquire into the chain of events, including the conduct of those who engaged in inciting, organizing and participating in events in all sectors, and the actions of the security forces. Supreme Court President Aharon Barak will be notified of the Cabinet’s decision today so that he may begin the process of appointing the commission’s members.

Prime Minister Barak said that the decision was taken following consultations with retired Judge Shalom Brenner, who had been appointed by the government two weeks ago to head a committee of inquiry. Judge Brenner recommended that the committee terminate its work and that a state commission of inquiry be appointed instead. Prime Minister Barak also consulted with Minister Matan Vilnai who is responsible for dealing with the Israeli Arab sector, and took note of the many appeals he received on the matter from senior jurists and public leaders from all sectors of the population.

Prime Minister Barak has directed the security forces to act against those who break the law and extremists from all sectors. He added that his obligation as Prime Minister of all Israelis, Jewish and Arab, is to do his utmost to reduce tensions and foster equality, integration and a constructive and positive dialogue within Israeli society.