Jerusalem, 18 June 2000

PM Barak: Palestinian Leadership Must Genuinely Desire Agreement
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The Political-Security Cabinet met today (Sunday), 18.6.2000, for approximately five hours, to discuss the negotiations with the Palestinians. Security officials briefed the ministers on the current situation.

Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that we are nearing the end of the diplomatic corridor which began with the Oslo Accords and added that, therefore, the hour of decision is close at hand.

Prime Minister Barak emphasized that complex and sensitive issues remain on the agenda and added that the way they are dealt with will determine the reality of our lives and those of coming generations. He said that while Israel is interested in a settlement and is even willing to make difficult decisions (to the extent that they maintain Israel’s vital interests), it is not possible to enforce a settlement on the other side, and added that without genuine desire on the part of the Palestinian leadership there will be no agreement.

Regarding various reports on the issue, Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s Bureau wishes to clarify the government is set on achieving a peace agreement with the Palestinians and believes that all chances of reaching an agreement that will assure Israel’s vital interests must be exhausted.

The IDF is in constant contact with Palestinian security officials with the goal of preventing misunderstandings and thereby contributing to achieving security and quiet. However, the IDF does have to be prepared and ready for any possibility and to provide full security to all residents of Israel wherever they live.