(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 11 June 2006:

1. Defense Minister Peretz briefed ministers on security events in the Gaza Strip, including the interception of Islamic Jihad and Hamas rocket-launching cells and the Air Force attack on a Popular Resistance Committees training camp that resulted in the death of PRC leader Jamal Abu Samhadana, who was responsible for the deaths of many civilians and IDF soldiers.

Defense Minister Peretz also discussed the incident in which seven civilians were killed among the ruins of Dugit, following which Hamas declared an end to the ceasefire and the resumption of fighting and terrorist attacks and its intention to take revenge at a time and place of its choosing. The Defense Minister noted that following the incident he ordered an immediate inquiry into its circumstances. In yesterday’s preliminary update, at Gaza Divisional HQ, it was not yet able to summarize the circumstances with certainty. The Defense Minister ordered that the inquiry be carried out and that its conclusions be submitted to him forthwith.

Immediately after the incident, Defense Minister Peretz sent a personal message to Palestinian Authority Abu Mazen in which he expressed his regret over the killing of civilians and children. He offered all necessary medical assistance and emphasized that preventing casualties on both sides required a complete halt to the firing of rockets and mortars.

Regarding Hamas’s threats, Defense Minister Peretz said that the IDF and the security forces would continue to act to reduce rocket fire in every possible manner while continuing to take care to prevent striking at civilians who are not involved in terrorism. At this stage, and until the inquiry is completed, the Defense Minister instructed that artillery would be used only with the approval of IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz.

2. National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and the Director-General of his ministry briefed ministers on the recent power outages.

3. Pursuant to Basic Law: The Judiciary, the Cabinet appointed Interior Minister Ronnie Bar-On as a member of the Judges’
Election Committee.

4. The Cabinet discussed increasing the 2006-2010 budget for culture.

5. Interior Minister Bar-On submitted a draft decision on giving status to the children, parents and siblings of people in Israel illegally. Attorney General Meni Mazuz presented his position on the issue.  Discussion of the matter will continue at the next Cabinet meeting.

6. The Cabinet amended a March 2003 decision regarding the appointment of directors at certain units in government, municipal and general hospitals.