(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), June 1, 2003:
1. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon briefed ministers on security and diplomatic affairs.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stressed that last week was marked by diplomatic efforts to advance the peace process. However, the various terrorist elements made a considerable effort in the field to perpetrate attacks and sabotage the diplomatic initiative; in the absence of Palestinian counter-terrorism efforts, terror was blocked solely by the Israeli security forces. The Cabinet’s decision regarding the roadmap has put the ball in the Palestinians’ court vis-a-vis the carrying out of security actions with a view towards stopping and uprooting terror. As of now, the Palestinian side has yet to take up responsibility for security; they are requesting additional time in order to get organized and reach a ceasefire agreement with Hamas and the other terrorist groups before they formally accept responsibility for security.
Defense Minister Mofaz discussed recent acts of terrorism, as well as our forces’ counter-terrorist actions and accomplishments. He also discussed his visit to Turkey last week at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom briefed ministers on his participation in the meeting of foreign ministers of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in Crete last week. He discussed his meetings with other foreign ministers and detailed the messages he delivered to his various European and Arab counterparts.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon briefed ministers on his second meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen, including the issues that were raised at the meeting and the Palestinian delegation’s reactions to them.
Prime Minister Sharon also discussed his expected meeting in Aqaba this week with US President George Bush, Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen and King Abdallah II of Jordan.
Prime Minister Sharon said that we are entering a complex and difficult period that requires complicated decisions. He asked that Israelis mind the tone of statements made in public discourse on diplomatic and other issues and refrain from hurling accusations and condemnations. The tension created thereby is not only counterproductive, but is harmful.
2. Minister of Industry, Trade and Employment Ehud Olmert briefed ministers on his participation in the OECD ministerial conference on World Trade Organization policy, including his meetings with investors and government officials on promoting trade with Israel.
3. National Infrastructures Minister Joseph Paritzky briefed ministers on his participation in the meeting of European and Mediterranean basin energy ministers.
4. The Cabinet expressed its appreciation for the continuing involvement of Diaspora Jewish communities in building up the State of Israel and for the continuing support for the development of social welfare services, absorption, education and health services.
Diaspora Jews are called upon to continue being partners in building up the State of Israel as the state of the entire Jewish People and to support the four goals as set by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: Jewish continuity via Jewish-Zionist education for the younger generation in both Israel and the Diaspora, encouraging immigration to Israel and the absorption of new immigrants, promoting national and social development especially in the Negev and the Galilee, and strengthening the status of Jerusalem.