(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The Political-Security Cabinet met today (Wednesday), 5 July 2006, and issued the following statement:

"The Cabinet expresses its support and appreciation for the actions carried out by the IDF and the security establishment, on instruction from Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

The goals of the operation, as we have defined them from the outset, are and remain the release of abducted Cpl. Gilad Shalit and the cessation of the firing of rockets and mortars.

Our position is, and remains, that there will be no negotiations on a release of prisoners in exchange for Cpl. Shalit and that Israel views the Palestinian Authority as responsible for returning Gilad to Israel safe and sound.

Against the background of the abduction and the continued firing of rockets and mortars, including the firing of a Kassam rocket at Ashkelon, preparations must be made in order to bring about a change in the rules of the game and in the modus operandi vis-à-vis the PA and Hamas according to the parameters presented by the security establishment.

The Cabinet authorizes Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Peretz to instruct the security establishment to continue its preparations for prolonged and graduated security activity in order to achieve the goals that have been determined and to carry out approved actions as follows:

* Striking at Hamas in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria, with emphasis on striking at institutions and infrastructures that serve terrorism;

* Continuing and increasing counter-terrorist actions, including those aimed at Kassam cells;

* Reducing terrorists’ freedom of movement by continuing to section off the Gaza Strip and striking at infrastructures that serve terrorism;

* Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will continue to apply diplomatic pressure, via the international community, on the Syrian leadership in order to bring about the release of Cpl. Shalit;

* Avoiding – as much as possible – harming the civilian population that is not involved in terrorism;

* Responding comprehensively and immediately to all humanitarian needs.

Following the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Olmert will consult with Defense Minister Peretz, and senior IDF and security establishment leaders in order to approve detailed proposals on implementing the foregoing and in order to approve continued activity."