Jerusalem, December 21, 2003

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on (Sunday), December 21, 2003: 1. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz briefed ministers on joint security matters and noted that the number of warnings for terror attacks remains high as are the number that are being successfully thwarted.

The Defense Minister commented on the security establishment’s operation in Nablus and Ramallah where a number of the leaders of the PFLP and other wanted fugitives were wounded.

Defense Minister Mofaz also remarked on the latest successful arrow missile test which has created an essential security net around Israel against strategic threats.

2. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom briefed ministers on his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak which lasted for one hour and took place in a pleasant atmosphere. The meeting focused on two main issues; renewing the peace process with the Palestinians, and improving bilateral relations between the two countries. President Mubarak indicated that he plans to send Egyptian Foreign Minister Maher to Israel, in order to advance dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians and in order to demonstrate the Egyptian President’s desire to improve relations with Israel.

Foreign Minister Shalom mentioned his participation in the Forum for Donor Countries which took place in Rome, and commented on his meeting with the Palestinian delegation which included four ministers.

The Foreign Minister discussed his meetings in Washington with Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell. The meetings focused on the central role the road map should take in negotiations with the Palestinians and the US position on the security fence.

In addition, the Foreign Minister observed that Iran has signed the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allowing close supervision over the Iranian nuclear project. Foreign Minister Shalom also commented on the increasingly warm relations between Israel and Jordan.

3. Trade and Industry Minister Ehud Olmert, briefed ministers on his Italian counterpart’s recent visit as head of a large delegation to Israel.

4. The cabinet decided according to the Civil Service Law, to allow the Israel Police to receive a donation of $353,000 for the border police anti-terror unit. The money will be used to purchase equipment, as well as material to treat civilians in events involving multiple injuries or use of non-conventional warfare.

The border police and the security establishment find themselves at this time, coping with a very difficult security reality, and with the need to prepare to ensure the safety and security of Israeli citizens from terror attacks using non-conventional weapons.

Due to economic difficulties and the large number of events the unit is called upon to deal with, the system is unable to provide it with all the budget requirements necessary to purchase equipment which will ensure effective defense of the public in such events.

The "Friendship Fund" will transfer the money to the Jewish Agency, which will transfer the money to the Israel Police through the Israel Security Fund.

5. The cabinet approved the following appointments:

Mr. Avraham Toledo as Israeli Ambassador to Austria.
Mr. Evyatar Manor as Israeli Ambassador to Sweden.
Mr Yoav Bar-On as non-resident Israeli Ambassador to Granada.
Mr. Michael Ronen as non-resident Israeli Ambassador to Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru, and the Solomon Islands.
Mr. Ori Noy as non-resident Israeli Ambassador to Bolivia.
Mr. Benjamin Oron as non-resident Israeli Ambassador to Paraguay.