Jerusalem, 19 May 2002

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), May 19, 2002:

1. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer briefed ministers on security events from last week and noted the following:

  • The IDF is continuing to uphold the achievements of Operation "Defensive Shield";
  • * The number of attempted attacks continues to decline;
  • * Security forces have continued preventative actions in Palestinian Authority areas in order to strike at the infrastructures of terror and/or prevent the resumption of attacks. This included the capture of suicide-bombers, the discovery of bombs and the arrest of fugitives, among them senior fugitives.

In the course of events last week, there were a number of tragic incidents, which are being investigated by the IDF, including the death of a resident of the Triangle from fire by our forces near Shuweikeh, the death of an eastern Jerusalem doctor near Beit Omar and the wounding of an Arab citizen near Oranit.

Each of the foregoing events concerned Israeli citizens who had entered PA areas in contravention of the order by OC Central Command and in ways which aroused suspicion. In each case, the IDF has expressed regret and is investigating the events.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer remarked that pressure is being exerted on PA Chairman Yasser Arafat regarding a cessation of terror and the need for genuine internal reforms in the PA; the latter did a neat exercise by placing himself at the head of the movement for reform and presenting himself as the one who will lead it. In any case, Israel will judge the Palestinian side by its deeds, not its words.

2. The Cabinet authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to approve the draft law on extending the validity of the 2002 Emergency Regulations (Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip – Criminal Jurisdiction/Legal Aid) and table them in the Knesset forthwith.

The validity of the aforementioned emergency regulations – which determine the legal reciprocity relations between Israel and Judea, Samaria and Gaza Strip region, including arrangements regarding legal aid between Israel and the PA – has been extended periodically since 1967 and is currently due to expire on June 30, 2002.

Most of the arrangements in the regulations deal with the authority of Israeli courts over Israelis who commit crimes in both the region and the PA areas, the right of Israeli authorities to carry out – in Israel – punishments and arrests which have been set by the military authorities in the region, and provide for the implementation in the region of orders and punishments which Israeli authorities have determined regarding residents of the region. The regulations also provide for the application of Israeli laws on Israelis living in the region and arrangements for legal aid between Israel and the authorized bodies in the PA.