(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), January 27, 2002:
1. Minister Salah Tarif submitted his resignation.
2. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Zeevy briefed ministers on security and intelligence affairs. The Defense Minister said that escalation with the Palestinians continued last week, and even worsened. He noted last week’s attacks and the number of victims and said that both counter-terrorism successes and failed attempted attacks prevented additional disasters which, if realized, could have led to far harsher results. Israel will continue with its integrated policy of reactive and initiated actions against terrorism, which combine extensive preventative measures alongside continued pressure on Arafat so that he will act to prevent attacks. The tight closure on the main cities in Judea and Samaria – hotbeds of terrorism – will continue.
Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer said that American pressure on the PA and Arafat are no less significant than Israeli pressure; the US administration has begun reassessing its relationship with the PA and its chairman.
Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer further noted that the IDF in general, and Northern Command in particular, are deserving of every praise on the manner in which they responded to the Hizbullah shooting on the northern border.
Maj.-Gen. Zeevy briefed ministers on the current intelligence situation, dealing mainly with the PA and Arafat, discussed the Palestinian’s strategic concept, and detailed the PA’s and Arafat’s standing in the region and in the international arena.
Maj.-Gen. Zeevy noted the Arab stance versus that of the American establishment vis-a-vis terrorism and referred to the significance of the recent interfaith conference that took place in Egypt.