PM Barak Comments in Cabinet Meeting
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Ehud Barak opened the weekly cabinet meeting today (Sunday), May 21, 2000, by stating that the Hizbullah is trying to intensify its activities in Lebanon in order to create the appearance that its members have driven the IDF out of that country, even though it is clear to all that the withdrawal of Israeli forces is the result of the government’s decision, which was taken at a time of Israel’s choosing and in accordance with its interests. The Prime Minister believes that the recent kind of incidents in southern Lebanon will continue through the coming weeks, so long as Israeli soldiers are on Lebanese soil. The Hizbullah is currently considering whether to continue operations following the withdrawal given that the IDF’s redeployment along the international border is in accordance with United Nations resolutions and has its backing.
Prime Minister Barak stated that the Air Force’s strikes on the tanks belonging to the organization of Ahmed Jibril signaled to all military forces in Lebanon Israel’s future retaliatory ability against whoever might attack it.
Israel is reaching understandings with the United Nations and the international community regarding the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 425. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently reiterated to the Prime Minister that the UN intends to fulfill its part to implement the resolution.
Regarding events in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, the Prime Minister stated that the latest incidents of the use of live fire against IDF soldiers by Palestinian policemen are extremely serious. Israel will not accept the continuation of this situation and strongly demands that the Palestinian Authority take steps to end such incidents and prevent them from recurring.
Prime Minister Barak informed the ministers that Israel has made it clear to the Palestinians that there will no change in the status of Abu-Dis, Azariya and Suwahara until such time as the incidents cease and the Palestinian Authority proves that it is in full control of its people. He emphasized the seriousness with which he views this morning’s incident in Jericho, and outlined the actions taken in response – the placing of roadblocks that interfere with people’s daily lives and the local economy – and added that he expects an immediate response to the sharp messages that he sent, which demand that the Palestinian Authority immediately and fundamentally change its patterns of behavior.
Prime Minister Barak also stated that he has decided to postpone his trip to the United States due to the situation in the territories and Lebanon and will shortly decide when to reschedule his talks with US President Bill Clinton. During these talks he will try to reach understandings with the United States prior to entering into the decisive negotiations on the framework agreement with the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Barak also referred to the Internet: "Within 3 years, every child and neighborhood in the country will have broadband on-line connections and every child will grow up in control of the links to tomorrow’s world." The principles for this target are: competition, modern system regulation and privatization, each one dependent on the other.
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