(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 15 October 2006):

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that he will be going to Russia this Tuesday, 17 October 2006, for diplomatic meetings with President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, and will also meet with Jewish community leaders. Prime Minister Olmert said that in his meetings with the Russian President he would discuss the Iranian threat and developments in the nuclear situation with North Korea.

2. Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the Director of Research at the IDF Intelligence Corps and the Deputy Director of the ISA briefed ministers on current security and diplomatic issues including security establishment activity in the Gaza Strip, the violent clashes between Fatah and Hamas, the increased smuggling of war materiel from Sinai, the UN Security Council Resolution #1718 on sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the latter’s nuclear test, and the involvement of Iran and Syria in the upsurge of terrorism in the region.

Defense Minister Peretz said that the IDF had significantly expanded its activity recently in both the northern and southern sectors of the Gaza Strip and noted that there have been significant strikes against Hamas and other militants who clashed with the IDF. The IDF is stepping up its assaults against suspected tunneling activity. 

Regarding his Lebanese counterpart’s recent remarks to the effect that the Lebanese military would direct anti-aircraft fire at Israeli overflights of Lebanese territory, Defense Minister Peretz emphasized that while the IDF is prepared for any eventuality in this regard, it is important to stress that as long as UN Security Council Resolution #1701 is neither implemented nor fulfilled, including the return of the abductees and regarding the embargo on the transfer of war materiel, Israel has no intention of changing anything.

Regarding events in Judea and Samaria, Defense Minister Peretz stressed that the security establishment would continue to carry out arrests and added that such activity prevents terrorist attacks. He also discussed the evacuation of illegal outposts and the demolition of illegal structures.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made it clear that UN Security Council Resolution #1718 had been reached by consensus between the Anglo-American approach and the more compromising Sino-Russian approach. She said that it was too early to determine the implications of the resolution on the Iranian issue. The Foreign Minister also discussed this week’s European foreign ministers’ meeting at which they are expected to announce the end of negotiations with Iran and their support for the imposition of sanctions; a subsequent decision by the UN Security Council is expected.

Foreign Minister Livni referred to the failure of the Qatari initiative on the Palestinian issue, the status of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution #1701 and the election of a new UN Secretary-General.

3. The Cabinet authorized Minister Ya’akov Edery, who is responsible for liaison between the Government and the Knesset and for Jerusalem affairs, to oversee and supervise ministries’ preparations regarding the implementation of the "Jerusalem Envelope" and care for the population of greater Jerusalem as a result of the construction of the security fence.