Jerusalem, 4 November 2001

PM Sharon to Cabinet: Israel’s preventative measures will continue given absence of similar measures by the Palestinian Authority;
DM Ben-Eliezer: Gradual pullback from ‘A’ areas in accordance with local situation assessments

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), November 4, 2001:

1. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon congratulated Minister Benny Elon on his joining the government. Prime Minister Sharon noted that Minister Elon joins the Cabinet amidst tragic and difficult circumstances in the wake of the assassination of Minister Rechavam Zeevy. The Prime Minister expressed his confidence that Minister Elon will contribute to both the security of the country and successful government activity.

2. Prime Minister Sharon commented on the passing of Rabbi Eliezer Schach, who was laid to rest last Friday, November 2, 2001. The Prime Minister noted the appreciation for the late Rabbi Schach’s work over many years on behalf of the Torah world and all Jewish issues. "There is no doubt that we have lost an important person who made his mark over many years. I express condolences on behalf of all of us; we share in the mourning and sorrow of his family and the haredi community."

3. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer briefed the Cabinet on current security issues.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer noted with satisfaction the impressive success of the security forces last week in preventing large-scale bloodshed among the country’s citizens.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer detailed the initiated actions of the IDF in the area of current security matters and stressed that the IDF killed nine terrorists last week and arrested 36 wanted fugitives.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer said that the IDF and the security forces have concluded that the IDF’s current presence in ‘A’ areas has exhausted itself and the current directive is to effect a gradual pullback from these areas, in accordance with local situation assessments.

Prime Minister Sharon added that changes in the modus operandi will be as per the situation on the ground but asserted that Israel’s preventative measures will continue given the absence of similar measures by the Palestinian Authority.

Prime Minister Sharon, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer commented on the US’s decision to add Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to its list of terrorist organizations.

4. Foreign Minister Peres briefed the Cabinet on his participation in the economic conference in Palma de Majorca in Spain.

5. The Cabinet – in accordance with Basic Law: The Government – Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s appointment of Minister Avigdor Lieberman to replace the late Minister Rechavam Zeevy on the Ministerial Committee on National Security.

6. Cabinet Secretary Gideon Saar announced that the State Commission of Inquiry on Yemenite Children has completed its work and presented its report to the government. Copies of the report were presented to interested ministers by the Cabinet Secretariat. Cabinet Secretary Saar briefed the Cabinet on the report’s main points and conclusions.

7. Prime Minister Sharon announced that he has – in coordination with the American government – postponed his trip to the US.

8. The Cabinet approved the nominations of Reuven Meron as Israeli Ambassador to Bolivia, Yaakov Avrahami Meron as Israeli Ambassador to Myanmar, and Yosef Livneh as Israeli Ambassador to Belize.