(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 23 December 2007:

1. Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed the security situation in the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Olmert made the following remarks:

“Our security forces-the ISA and the IDF – have been active for long months, in countless operations, in the Gaza Strip in order to reduce the number of Kassam attacks against residents of the south to the unavoidable minimum and in order to strike at those responsible for launching these Kassam missiles.

"Counter-terrorist operations will continue as they have for months.  There is no other way to describe what is happening in the Gaza Strip except as a true war between the IDF and terrorist elements.  This war will continue even as we take strict care, as we have up to now, to avoid a humanitarian crisis that could harm civilians who are uninvolved in terrorism.  This policy requires both patience and fortitude.  The State of Israel has no interest in negotiating with elements that do not accept the Quartet’s basic principles.  Thus we have declared and thus we will continue.  This is true regarding Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all other elements.  Whoever accepts the Quartet principles will be – in principle – a partner for negotiations.  Whoever is unwilling to do so, to our regret, cannot be a partner for dialogue.  This policy will not change.”

2. Prime Minister Olmert also strongly condemned violence against the elderly, which he defined as, “domestic terrorism.” 

3. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai and National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer briefed ministers on their recent working visits to Uruguay, Romania, Kazakhstan and Turkey.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni briefed ministers on the recent Paris Conference.

4. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law  (Appointments) and in accordance with the recommendation of the Civil Service Committee, the Cabinet decided to exempt from public tender the post of the director of the unified national and civilian service authority in the Prime Minister’s Office. 

5. The Cabinet appointed Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry Director-General Yael Shealtieli to the Israel Land Administration Council.

6. The Cabinet appointed an interministerial committee on the struggle against violence against the elderly. 

7. The Cabinet decided to establish a committee chaired by retired Judge Zvi Terkel to formulate recommendations on various ways to honor the memory of victims of terrorism, including at local Remembrance Day ceremonies, in the media, etc. 

8. The Cabinet approved Transportation and Road Safety Minister Shaul Mofaz’s and Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On’s decision to appoint a joint ministerial committee to oversee enforcement of the 2000 Fast Highway Lanes Law. 

9. The Cabinet appointed Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Ra’anan Dinur to chair a team of ministry directors-general on the formulation of alternative employment proposals for workers – and assistance for other elements – who were adversely affected by the closure of the fish farms in the Gulf of Eilat.