Jerusalem, 3 February 2002

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), February 3, 2002:

1. Israel Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishky briefed ministers on Israel Police activities during the past year, in which there were approximately 10,000 terrorist incidents in which 1,047 Israelis were injured.

Commissioner Aharonishky discussed Israel Police activities along the seam line, vis-a-vis persons staying illegally in Israel and regarding law enforcement operations in eastern Jerusalem, as well as the dedication of two new police stations in eastern Jerusalem, Israel Police actions against Palestinian Authority activity in Jerusalem and the strengthening of Israeli sovereignty in the capital. The Commissioner also discussed crime in Israel and traffic accidents.

2. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave details on his meeting with PA officials Abu Ala, Abu Mazen and Muhammad Rashid and made it clear that he invited them to the meeting after it had become clear to him that they did not know the exact nature of Israel’s demands on the PA regarding the cessation of violence and terror. The Prime Minister made it clear during the meeting that the fulfilling of Israel’s demands on the following issues was a prerequisite to entering diplomatic negotiations:

A. Genuine arrests, interrogations and trials of terrorists;
B. The dismantling of terrorist organizations: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front, the Tanzim and those elements of the Presidential Guard (Force 17) which are regularly engaged in terrorism. The Prime Minister emphasized that he had demanded that these organizations be disbanded and that their infrastructures be dismantled.
C. The collection of weapons held by the terrorist organizations, their delivery to the Americans, their removal outside the PA and their destruction.
D. Serious counter-terrorism operations; and
E. The cessation of incitement.

Prime Minister Sharon said that his PA guests had made several requests, among them: A halt to targeted eliminations, the opening of roads and the lifting of the closures, freedom of movement for Arafat and no movements into "A" areas or against PA targets.

Prime Minister Sharon responded to these requests and said that his interlocutors could prevent targeted eliminations by Israel by intensively dealing with the terrorists. Regarding the opening of roads, the Prime Minister made it clear that, unfortunately, the situation was such that acts of murder and terror follow the lifting of the closures. Israel’s objective from the outset has been to separate between populations which are not engaged in terror and terrorists.

Regarding Arafat, Prime Minister Sharon asserted that Arafat must arrest the murderers of Minister Rechavam Zeevy, those who dispatched them, and those who initiated the operation; and arrest those responsible for the Karine A.

Regarding not acting inside "A" areas or against PA targets, Prime Minister Sharon said that this depends on the PA’s actions.

Prime Minister Sharon reiterated that no diplomatic issues were raised at the meeting.

3. In accordance with the Bank of Israel Law, the Cabinet appointed Prof. Aviyah Spibak and Dr. Meir Sokolar as deputies to Bank of Israel Governor Dr. David Klein.

4. The Cabinet decided to approve Prime Minister Sharon’s proposal to legislate regarding support payments to IDF reservists. It was also decided to establish a committee composed of Defense, Justice and Finance ministry representatives to hasten the preparation of the legislation. The Ministerial Committee on Legislation was charged with approving the draft legislation by the end of February subject to Cabinet approval.

5. The Cabinet approved Finance Minister Silvan Shalom’s proposal to change the income tax code so as to change the first two tax brackets and lower the tax burden on low-income earners whose income is near the minimum wage level (up to NIS 4,000 per month).

6. The Cabinet discussed the issue of water allocations to the agricultural sector in 2002.