PM Netanyahu: "Whoever desires peace will hold direct peace talks. I hope that this will be one of the results of my trip to Washington."
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
1. Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 4 July 2010:
"Tomorrow, I will leave for the US, for meetings with President Obama and other administration officials. I will also meet, in New York, with Jewish leaders and public opinion-setters. The main goal of the talks with President Obama will be to advance direct talks in the peace process between us and the Palestinians. We will also deal with security issues that are important to both Israel and the US, including the Iranian issue.
On the issue of direct talks, there is no substitute for entering into such negotiations. There is no substitute. One cannot raise ideas in either the media or by other means and avoid that direct contact; that is the only possible way to bring about a solution to the conflict between us and the Palestinians. We are ten minutes apart. Ramallah almost touches Jerusalem. I have been ready to meet with Abu Mazen since this Government’s first day in office. Whoever desires peace will hold direct peace talks. I hope that this will be one of the results of my trip to Washington.
2. The Cabinet decided to expand the authority of The Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010. The proposal was approved without opposition. The authority regards the summoning of witnesses and their testimony under oath. The decision will not apply to IDF soldiers and maintains the independence of the military inquiry.
3. The Cabinet decided to approve the Ministerial Committee on Legislation’s 27 June 2010 decision regarding various changes to the draft 2010 Transportation Law.
4. The Cabinet approved – in principle – the draft 2010 School Textbook Loan Law and authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to submit the final draft to the Knesset.
5. The Cabinet approved the draft 2010 Second Authority for Television and Radio Law and authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to submit the final draft to the Knesset.
6. The Cabinet approved amendments to the draft 2010 Criminal Procedure Law and authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to submit the final draft to the Knesset.
7. Pursuant to Article 26A(a) of the 1986 Security Services Law, the Cabinet approved the 2010 Security Service Order, regarding service that is recognized as being for a security purpose, and requested that The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee approve it forthwith.
8. The Cabinet discussed the inclusion of various dental care services in the health services basket.
9. At the request of Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to postpone, until the next Cabinet meeting, a decision on the resort project at Palmachim.
During the coming week, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman will attempt to formulate a proposal that would prevent a situation in which the Government would constitute a kind of appellate body vis-à-vis decisions of the District Planning and Building Committee. At the end of the discussion, the Prime Minister emphasized that his clear position is, and remains, that the coastal strip is a unique natural resource that must be preserved for the benefit of the public at large.
10. The Cabinet approved changes to the 2010 Planning and Building Law. Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s directive to strengthen supervision, monitoring and oversight procedures in the planning and building reforms, the Cabinet approved the recommendations drafted by the professional team chaired by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.
The Cabinet also approved steps to professionally strengthen the local committees, as well as additional rules regarding the integrity and proper administration of the committees, which will anchored in the draft legislation.
Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the members of the professional team and said, "The reform achieves two major things. It improves and upgrades the procedure of issuing building permits so that we will move from the bottom of the global ladder to the top. It will open the bottlenecks that currently impede the process. Israelis must deal with a bureaucracy of planning and building procedures. The current process makes it difficult primarily for the weak. The reform is necessary given the country’s current housing situation."
11. The Cabinet unanimously approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to allocate NIS 100 million to the Fire and Rescue Service in order to cover shortages of vital and emergency equipment, fire trucks and personnel. It was also decided to establish a national fire and rescue authority by the end of 2012, in the wake of the staff work carried out by various government ministries, under the supervision of Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eyal Gabai.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "This is an important and essential decision in light of the many risks presented both by the weather in the country and the security situation and its implications."
The budget will be allocated from the budgets of the Finance Ministry, the Public Security Ministry and local authorities.
12. The Cabinet decided by a 20-10 vote to oppose two bills regarding the minimum wage. The Cabinet also noted Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz’s statement that he intends to table soon the draft 2011-2012 budget law, which will include negative income tax.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "I welcome Finance Minister Steinitz’s statement that the next budget will include a negative income tax for the entire country. This is the proper answer to all citizens who work, but whose wages are low. This will encourage employment, as opposed to the other proposals, which would increase unemployment. This is also the reason why we have received the full support for this outline from professionals in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Finance Ministry, as well as from Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fisher and National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel.