Our goal is to try and reach a peace agreement with our Palestinian neighbors via direct talks, but we have always said that we do not necessarily insist on this format.

 Cabinet communique

 

Reuters archive photo

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting today (Thursday), 4 March 2010:
 
Today, the Cabinet will discuss advancing the bi-annual budget process for 2011-2012, thus continuing the successful attempt with the 2009-2010 bi-annual budget. This is a unique tool that allows Government ministries to plan, not months but years ahead. This will allow us to continue implementing the national transportation plan, joining the Galilee and the Negev to the center of the country, the necessary changes in our educational and social systems, closing the southern border to infiltrators, the struggles against violence, alcoholism and the establishment of a municipal police network, and the various economic reforms that we want to enact. This is a tool that will facilitate long-term planning. There is considerable global interest in the development of this tool by the State of Israel. I think that it is important at the current time to adopt it for two more years. We will see if we want to adopt it on a permanent basis.
 
US Vice President Joe Biden will arrive in Israel next week. Joe Biden has been a friend of the State of Israel for many years. He has been a personal friend of mine for almost 30 years and I am convinced that this important visit to our region will contribute to advancing the diplomatic process and there are indications to this effect.
 
I welcome the developments that, I hope, will lead to the start of talks upon [former] Senator George Mitchell’s visit to Israel next week. He is doing very important work, which we appreciate. We welcome the start of talks, even if they are proximity talks.
 
In the end, our goal is to try and reach a peace agreement with our Palestinian neighbors via direct talks, but we have always said that we do not necessarily insist on this format. If this is what is necessary to start the process – Israel is ready. I think that there is international recognition that this Government wants to start a peace process and I tell you that we also want to complete it."
 
At the Cabinet meeting today (Thursday), 4 March 2010:

1. The Cabinet approved a bill on equal rights for women with disabilities and decided to ask the Knesset House Committee to bring forward the discussion of the bill’s second reading to the day on which it is tabled in the Knesset.
 
2. Pursuant to Article 7 of the 1959 State Service Law (Assisting Political Party Activity and Fundraising), the Cabinet decided to allow the President’s Residence to receive a $500,000 donation from Yad Hanadiv (the Rothschild Foundation) for the planning and carrying out of renovations to the Residence.
 
3. The Cabinet decided, by a large majority to reject Minister Avishay Braverman’s and Minister Silvan Shalom’s appeals against the decision of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to support MK Carmel Shama’s proposed amendments to the 2009 Israel Bar Association Law (Elections to Bar Association Institutions).
 
4. The Cabinet discussed the biannual budget for 2011-2012 and a concomitant change in the fiscal rules.  Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Finance ministry Budget Division Director Udi Nisan briefed the Cabinet on the issue.  National Economic Council Chairman Eugene Kandel and Bank of Israel Research Director Karnit Flug presented their views. The Cabinet approved the biannual budget for 2011-2012 and concomitant change in the fiscal rules.