(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

The Ministerial Committee on National Security met today (Tuesday), 20 October 2009, for the first time, to discuss the implications of the Goldstone report which was recently adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. The Committee was presented with reviews by the Foreign Ministry, the Head of Military Intelligence and the Head of the National Security Council.  The discussion will continue at the Committee’s next meeting.

In accordance with its authority as outlined in Article 2 of the Law Against Financing Terrorism, the Committee declared 50 organizations to be terror organizations. This announcement follows the ruling of the UN Security Council and the US government according to which the above-mentioned organizations are involved in terrorism. The vast majority of these organizations are active all over the world and direct their activities towards various targets in the West and not necessarily against Israel. Almost all of these organizations are connected to Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the Taliban.

Declaring these organizations as terrorist organizations is a significant step in the international struggle against financing terrorism. This announcement is designed to align Israel with Western countries, in particular the United States, which combat terrorism by locating funds intended to finance terrorism. Once this declaration is passed, banks and Israeli financial institutions will be obligated to examine their accounts and financial activities and report any suspicious activities connected to these organizations to the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority.

In addition, the Committee on National Security assigned the Minister of Justice the task of establishing a unit to handle legal proceedings taking place overseas against the State of Israel, or against its citizens which require legal handling and special coordination. The new unit will be established in the Ministry of Justice in coordination with the Attorney General and the Public Prosecutor.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the professional bodies within the relevant government ministries to examine the facilitating of an international initiative to change the laws of war in keeping with the spread of terrorism throughout the world.

The Prime Minister stated at the end of the discussion: "Our challenge is to delegitimize the continuous attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel. The most important arena where we need to act in this context is in the arena of public opinion, which is crucial in the democratic world. We must continue to debunk this lie that is spreading with the help of the Goldstone report."

He added: “In Lebanon, in Gaza and in other places, weapons are being piled up around us with the sole aim of firing them at the citizens of the State of Israel. I want to make it clear to everyone:  No one will undermine our ability and right to defend our children, our citizens and our communities."