PM Barak: Palestinians not honoring Sharm understandings; Time-out to reassess diplomatic process in light of recent events
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Following are Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s remarks at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 22.10.2000:
"We are facing a complex and complicated situation the likes of which we have not known for some time. Practical risks of a deterioration are latent in the reality of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the north and the entire region, and the price is not so simple. Such times call for responsibility, leadership and the refusal to be dragged along by provocations on one hand, or capitulate on the other, as well as the preservation of a stable, considered and firm line of operation.
The Sharm understandings are not being upheld by the Palestinian side. There are preparations for attacks, public incitement, continued mass demonstrations, shooting incidents and a lack of security coordination. Released terrorists are not being detained and the violence is not being reined in. We cannot ignore such a situation and must act in accordance with Israel’s vital security interests in order to provide the area with maximum security, stability and normal daily life.
Today, it seems that the Palestinians have chosen not to continue on the path of Camp David and are preventing a discussion on the basis of the ideas raised by President Clinton. It appears that they have turned towards violence in order to try and internationalize the process and secure international support for the establishment of their state without agreement with Israel.
After the Arab summit, and in light of its results, we will have to call a time-out, the goal of which will be to reassess the diplomatic process in light of the events of recent weeks. The need for this is self-evident, natural and dictated by common sense.
The State of Israel will continue to strive towards peace and search for any way to secure it; however, one would have to be blind vis-a-vis diplomatic and security matters in order to continue the process as if nothing has happened. There have been many such time-outs in the last decade, both on our part and on the other side. This is not new. It is a necessary step and therefore, no government decision is necessary.
I will strive to expand the government in the direction of a national emergency government. I have no doubt that even a national emergency government will strive towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace, even if there are differences of emphasis and nuance.
We face the immediate danger of severe attacks, shooting and deterioration.
I want to express great appreciation for the IDF, which is operating under difficult conditions, while showing responsibility and self-control; for the Israel Police, for its actions to calm the situation inside Israel; and the ISA, for its exemplary efforts to thwart terrorist attacks.
The IDF operates under no political restrictions in its use of force to protect citizens and rescue those who have been injured and enjoys my full backing vis-a-vis its operational and tactical considerations in such situations. We will continue to assure the security of Israeli citizens and strive toward peace, but we will do this with open eyes while courageously understanding the true environment in which we live.
The Palestinians will be our neighbors always. We will never lose the hope of achieving a "peace of the brave" with them which will assure genuine security and stability for both sides.
||Outbreak of Violence in Jerusalem and the Territories – Sept/Oct 2000|