(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

At a special ministerial consultation this morning (Thursday), 3 February 2005, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, it was decided to approve the security establishment recommendations regarding the draft security understandings that had been reached with representatives of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Present at the consultation were: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; Vice Premier Shimon Peres; Industry, Trade and Employment Minister Ehud Olmert; Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom; Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz; Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister Haim Ramon.  They were briefed by IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Zeevi Farkash, ISA Director Avi Dichter, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yosef Mishlav, National Security Council Chairman Giora Eiland and other senior officials.

Following the security briefings, the ministers expressed their views regarding the aforementioned security understandings. Given the new opportunities that have been created in the region and Israel’s desire to exhaust these opportunities, and after it has been made clear to the Palestinians that progress will be impossible without a total halt in acts of terrorism and violence and without the dismantling of terrorist infrastructures, it was decided to approve the aforementioned security establishment recommendations ahead of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit next week.