Jerusalem, 1 September 2002

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), September 1, 2002:

1. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced his decision to appoint Mossad Director Ephraim Halevy as the Chairman of the National Security Council. Prime Minister Sharon thanked outgoing National Security Council Chairman Uzi Dayan for his services in this post, as well as for his many excellent years in the IDF.

2. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer briefed ministers on current security matters and noted that after four months of relative quiet, Hizballah had attacked IDF posts in the Mt. Dov sector last Thursday.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer said that Israel was fully aware of the possibility that Hizbullah might continue its provocations and added that Israel was using various channels to clearly warn Syria, Lebanon and Hizbullah that they were ‘playing with fire.’ The Defense Minister said that in the Palestinian arena, there had been a drop in the scope of attacks and impressive, successful, counter-terrorist actions. The pressure that Israel is applying on the ground has led to fewer attempts to carry out attacks, including suicide attacks, inside Israeli territory. While there is the growing impression that Israel’s deterrent measures against suicide-terrorism are bearing fruit, the situation on the ground is still not quiet. The Defense Minister added that in addition to operational activities, Israel is making a comprehensive effort in the civil-humanitarian sphere.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer expressed his regret over mishaps in which civilians, including children, have been killed, and added that the IDF is inquiring into these events.

3. Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh briefed ministers on traffic accidents in general, and the recent spate of serious accidents in particular. The Transportation Minister discussed several aspects of the war on traffic accidents.

4. The Cabinet decided to approve the signing of a cooperation agreement on the peaceful uses of outer space between the Israeli and Indian space agencies. The goal of the agreement is to provide a framework to facilitate bilateral cooperation on the uses of outer space for research purposes and practical civilian applications in the areas of satellite imagery and measurements, ground imagery, the use of ground stations, and student and scientific exchange programs.

5. The Cabinet decided to adopt the operative recommendations in the interim report of the State Commission of Inquiry that was appointed regarding the safety of structures and public places following the Versailles disaster in Jerusalem: No new construction according to the Pal-Kal method will be permitted, a professional engineering team will be appointed to design a national project for dealing with the various issues related to existing Pal-Kal structures, and the Attorney-General will appoint an inter-ministerial legal committee to map out the legislative changes that will be necessary in order to implement the actions called for in the aforementioned interim report.