Jerusalem, 15 October 2000

PM Barak: Sharm summit designed to stop violence; No knowledge of Israeli officer being held by Hizballah
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

At the beginning of the Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 15.10.2000, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the Sharm summit is designed to stop the violence and devise a mechanism that will both reduce the chances that the violence will recur and examine the events which have occurred in recent weeks.

Prime Minister Barak pointed out that it is his strong sense that the diplomatic process, in its current format, has reached the end of the line at this stage. "In the end, we will make peace with the Palestinians, but the current Palestinian leadership is now showing that it is finding it very difficult to make the decisions related to an agreement," he said.

Prime Minister Barak said that internal unity – which will meet both Israeli society’s internal needs and those vis-a-vis our neighbors and outside observers – is of supreme importance. He added that he does not mean the kind of unity which will lead to paralysis but that which will enable the necessary steps to be taken in the emergency situation in which we find ourselves.

Prime Minister Barak noted that the State of Israel’s diplomatic activity in the last 15 months has, in practice, exposed Arafat’s unacceptable positions – which demand, in effect, a return to the 4 June 1967 lines with an exchange of territories, full control of eastern Jerusalem while providing for Israeli access to the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall, and making no concessions on the right of return – that no Israeli can accept.

"This is the harsh and cruel, but perhaps not permanent, reality; the leadership can reconsider or be replaced, but since this is the reality, it requires us to consider it soberly and coolly, and unite around our vital interests," Prime Minister Barak said.

In relation to the various media reports, Prime Minister Barak said that Israel has no knowledge, at this stage, of an Israeli officer being held by Hizballah. Checks are continuing.    
 PM Barak- Sharm summit designed to stop violence- No knowledge of Israeli officer being held by Hizballah-15-Oct-2000
 PM Barak- Sharm summit designed to stop violence- No knowledge of Israeli officer being held by Hizballah-15-Oct-2000
Outbreak of Violence in Jerusalem and the Territories – Sept/Oct 2000