Jerusalem, 19 November 2000

PM Barak: Actions on ground – not mere declarations – will test whether terrorism, violence and incitement have been reduced; no change in position on observers; incident in Jordan very serious
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

At the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), November 19, 2000, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he views with utmost gravity the recent attack at Kfar Darom and said that the IDF will draw the necessary lessons from the event and will continue to provide security for Kfar Darom and the other communities in the area. The Prime Minister expressed his condolences to the family of St.-Sgt. Baruch Senir-Flum and wished a rapid recovery to the wounded. The Prime Minister said that our goal is to reduce terrorism, violence and incitement. He stated that the test vis-a-vis implementing this goal is in actions on the ground, not mere declarations, and added that we should wait several days before reaching any conclusions in this regard.

Prime Minister Barak briefed ministers on the pressure being exerted on the Palestinians, including in the military, economic and diplomatic spheres. He asserted that in light of the situation in recent days and the chance for implementing the Sharm understandings, Israel would be mistaken if it was the factor which brought about an immediate escalation since there is no doubt that we would be blamed in such a case for torpedoing a possible relaxation.

The IDF will – in accordance with government directives – continue to act with strength and at a time and scope that serves Israeli interests.

Prime Minister Barak reiterated Israel’s opposition to the arrival of international observers at the current time and pointed out that there is no change in our position, according to which such observers could assist in implementing concluded agreements, as has been the case with previous agreements.

Prime Minister Barak said that the incident in Jordan is very serious and declared that those who perpetrated the shooting attack on the Israeli diplomat must – in full coordination with the Jordanian authorities – be apprehended and brought to trial.

[The Jerusalem Post reports: Yoram Havivian, Israeli vice-consul in Jordan, will return to Israel as a result of injuries sustained in an assassination attempt in Amman this morning. The diplomat was lightly wounded in the hand and leg in the shooting.]