(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 3 July 2005:

1a. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz briefed ministers on ongoing security matters, including the Palestinian issue, the clash on Mt. Dov in the north, and events regarding the evacuation in Neve Dekalim last Thursday.

Defense Minister Mofaz said that there has been no real progress in the war on terrorism. Islamic Jihad has not accepted the “calm” and terrorist attacks are continuing along the roads in Judea and Samaria, as are rocket attacks in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is making efforts to include Hamas in their administrative leadership. The Defense Minister said in relation to the establishment of a PA National Security Council, that anarchy still prevails in some Palestinian cities, and that in spite of this, Israel continues to coordinate with the Palestinians.  srael is continuing its efforts to carry out arrests that have proven themselves to be effective in foiling Palestinian attempts to perpetrate acts of terrorism.

1b. Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra commented on last week’s actions by the Israel Police, especially against those who oppose the disengagement vis-a-vis their attempts to block roads around the country and in the evacuation of the hotel in Neveh Dekalim.

1c. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom briefed ministers on current diplomatic issues. The Foreign Minister said that following last week’s events in the north, he instructed Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Gillerman to submit a protest to the Security Council and to demand an emergency meeting. Our message is that Hizbullah is attempting to sabotage the international community’s efforts to advance stability in Lebanon. We hold the Lebanese government responsible for all hostile actions coming from its territory against Israel and our civilians. In response, the Security Council President released a statement condemning the attack against Israel and demanding that the Lebanese government exert its sovereignty over all of its territory. The statement referred to Hizbullah’s involvement in the incident.

Events are currently focused on Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s efforts to form a government.  Hizbullah continues to seize every opportunity to declare that while it has no intention of disarming, it is willing to enter the new government.

Foreign Minister Shalom added that in all of our contacts with the international community, we are calling on world leaders to show utmost determination regarding the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution #1559.

Fatah concluded a conference in Amman yesterday in which Abu Mazen’s position, which rules out the option of a Palestinian state with provisional borders, was accepted.  In practice, Fatah has thereby ruled out the second stage of the Roadmap.  European Parliament President Josep Fontells visited Israel last week and met with Foreign Minister Shalom.

This week, a Swiss government official is due to present a report on the humanitarian significance of the security fence to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) President as per the decision of the July 2004 emergency UNGA session. It is expected that the Palestinians will call for the UNGA emergency session to reconvene in order to make further decisions condemning Israel; it is possible that there will be calls to concrete steps against Israel. The Palestinian UN representative has previously expressed his desire to be active at this special session. This Palestinian decision shows that they still cling to Arafat’s legacy including – inter alia – attempts to internationalize the conflict.

Foreign Minister Shalom said that there has been increasing anti-Semitism in both Russia in particular and in Europe in general. This phenomenon must be condemned and excoriated in every possible forum.  The Foreign Minister called on his fellow ministers to raise the issue in all of their meetings with their European counterparts. Regarding Russia, he discussed – inter alia – the recent Shulhan Arukh affair in which anti-Semitic elements in Russia claimed that the book incites against non-Jews and should, therefore, be banned from being disseminated in Russia. Despite appeals by Jewish organizations and others to the Russian government and state prosecutor’s office, elements in a district branch of the state prosecutor’s office decided to open an investigation against the Jewish organization that publishes an abridged version of the Shulchan Arukh on the claim that it indeed incites against non-Jews. The Foreign Minister directed Foreign Ministry officials to summon Russian Embassy officials and protest to them.  We demanded that the Russian government act immediately to halt this investigation that reeks of anti-Semitism.

2. The Cabinet discussed he appeal submitted by Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Yisrael Katz against the decision by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to oppose opposition MK Yitzhak Levy’s bill that would postpone the implementation of the Disengagement Plan until mid-February 2006.

The Cabinet decided to reject Minister Katz’s appeal. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that postponing the disengagement would be a mistake and added that he has no intention of doing so because he believes that this would cause great harm to Israel.

3. The Cabinet – in accordance with the 1965 Israel Broadcasting Authority Law – to recommend that President Moshe Katsav appoint the following people to the IBA plenum: Eli Landau, Prof. Gavriela Shalev, Tamar Hausner-Raveh, Hannah Hertzman, Navot Tel-Zur, Michael Shizef, Rachel Kramerman, Yaakov Shaham, Reuven Shalom (as the representative of the Jewish Agency), Dr. Noam Garsel, Meha Mantsour, David Newman, Anton Iyov, Myron Eiskason, Rachel Barkai, Yaella Granot, Dalia Cohen Simcha, Yaakov Naveh, Avraham Doron, Doron Tsabri, Goldie Leviod-Aryeh, Murit Yardeni-Levy, Dr. Yuval Karniel, Dr. Khalil Rinawi, David Zilbershlag, Yitzhak Wald, Uriel Pelach and Vladya Yairi.

5. The Cabinet approved the following Foreign Ministry appointments: Avraham Binyamin – Ambassador to Angola and non-resident Ambassador to Sao Tome e Principe; Ephraim Ben Matityahu – Ambassador to Vietnam and non-resident Ambassador to Laos; Dan Stav – Ambassador to Nepal; and Menachem Kanafi – Ambassador to Eritrea.

6. The Cabinet decided to offer assistance toward repairing private sector property damage in Maghar and charged the Interior Ministry with the responsibility of overseeing the payments.

The assistance will be awarded in accordance with the criteria that have been determined for compensating those who have been injured as a result of hostile actions. In order to be certain that the resources allocated will be used only for damages stemming from the February 2005 disturbances, a committee will set specific criteria for – inter alia – proving the origin of the damage and assuring payment to those who carried out the repairs. The Interior Ministry will oversee the implementation of the aforementioned criteria.

In order to carry out this decision, the Finance, Interior, Construction and Housing, and Industry, Trade and Employment ministries, as well as the office of Vice Premier Shimon Peres, will allocate NIS 7 million in 2005 and 2006 (inclusive).

7. Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior Finance Ministry officials briefed ministers on state of the economy and on macro-economic forecasts ahead of the 2006 budget. Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer presented his comments on the Finance Ministry forecasts.