(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday), 27 September 2006:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wished the Jewish people a good, happy, quiet and safe New Year.

2. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz and ISA Director Yuval Diskin briefed ministers on current security and foreign policy matters.

Foreign Minister Livni briefed ministers on various diplomatic issue vis-a-vis her recent visits to Washington and participation in the UN General Assembly. In Washington she met with US President George Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and members of the US Congress and discussed – inter alia – post-war Lebanon, the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution #1701, the arms embargo and the abductees. On the issue of a Palestinian unity government, the Foreign Minister made it clear that no Palestinian government would receive legitimacy unless it fully accepts the three conditions set by the Quartet.

Foreign Minister Livni discussed her meetings in New York with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Abu Mazen and 30 foreign ministers, including 10 from Islamic/Arab countries. She made it clear that today that several Islamic/Arab countries see a common on the Iranian issue, not the Israeli issue.

Prime Minister Olmert summarized the Cabinet discussion as follows:

A. Regarding statements about Syria and other issues, it must be recalled that the Government has a policy and it is unacceptable that ministers express personal views that do not jibe with Government policy.

B. On the Palestinian issue, this Government has given top priority to the possibility of negotiations with the PA only on the basis of the Roadmap.
The international community has determined that whoever does not accept the principles of the Roadmap and those laid down by the Quartet cannot be a partner for negotiations with Israel.  Thus, the Hamas government, the positions of which are well known, cannot be a partner.

Whoever changes his views and adopts principles that the State of Israel and the international community have defined as threshold conditions – and accepts those conditions – is a partner.

Israel is prepared for meetings with the PA – with Abu Mazen and his people.
Prime Minister Olmert said: “I am prepared to consider any reasonable, practical idea that could lead to dialogue with the Palestinians and to the creation of momentum in the diplomatic process.”

3. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments) and in accordance with the recommendations of the Civil Service commission, the Cabinet decided exempt various positions from public tender requirements.

4.  The Cabinet decided to extend the validity of the 2002 Capital Investments Law regarding development areas.

5.  The Cabinet discussed the development of religious structures in existing urban neighborhoods.