PM Netanyahu: The Palestinians will achieve a state only by direct negotiations, not by empty statements and not by unilateral moves. These will only push a peace agreement farther away.
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 6 April 2014):
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz made the following remarks:
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"In recent months the State of Israel has conducted negotiations with the Palestinians in order to reach a peace agreement. Israelis expect peace, a genuine peace, in which our vital national interests are assured, with security first and foremost. During these talks we carried out difficult steps and showed a willingness to continue implementing moves that were not easy, in the coming months as well, in order to create a framework that would allow for putting an end to the conflict between us. Just as we were about to enter into that framework for the continuation of the negotiations, Abu Mazen hastened to declare that he is not prepared even to discuss recognizing Israel as the national state of the Jewish People, which we have made clear to both the President of the United States and to other world leaders as well.
To my regret as we reached the moment before agreeing on the continuation of the talks, the Palestinian leadership hastened to unilaterally request to accede to 14 international treaties. Thus the Palestinians substantially violated the understandings that were reached with American involvement. The Palestinians’ threats to appeal to the UN will not affect us. The Palestinians have much to lose by this unilateral move. They will achieve a state only by direct negotiations, not by empty statements and not by unilateral moves. These will only push a peace agreement farther away and unilateral steps on their part will be met with unilateral steps on our part. We are ready to continue the talks but not at any price.
Today the Cabinet will be briefed by National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel on the socio-economic strategy of the State of Israel. This is the first time that an Israeli government has made such long-term planning among all the ministries. We want to open new markets for the Israeli economy – such as China and Latin America. Secondly, we want to significantly develop the cyber industry, a very strong global industry. And third, we want to reduce and simplify regulation, which is a strategic goal of the State of Israel. Regulation in Israel needs to undergo a fundamental change. We are working on this. Today we will hear about the steps we are taking in this direction in both theIsrael Securities Authority and the Environmental Protection Ministry. Minister Peretz and his ministry have worked together with my ministry in order to simplify, reduce and ease on the regulatory issue. Minister Peretz, if you please."
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz:
"I thank the Prime Minister. We are planning a move that will, on the one hand, increase our ability to monitor current work on raising the level of environmental protection and, on the other, reduce bureaucracy and certainly oversee a reallocation of responsibilities. We have three goals. The first is to unify prices as much as possible. The second is to create more stability in industry. The third is to promise that as soon as applications are received, we will deal with them properly and quickly with a commitment to a timetable.
I think that this is a genuine and very principled revolution that requires coordination from all ministries. We are doing this in coordination with the European Union in the context of the Twinning project, with representatives from Germany who are working closely with the ministry and in coordination with both industry and green organizations.
In my view, if we complete this work – of course it will need budgetary support because local authorities will also receive very major tasks; for example out of the 12,000 factories that are currently monitored by the ministry, approximately 8,000 will be placed under direct local authority supervision. There is no reason why a government ministry needs to supervise a garage; there are reasons why it should supervise power plants. This is a prominent example. Of course, I will go into detail later. This will also require proper legislation and budgetary backing in order to complete this in the framework of the concept of ‘green growth’ so that there will be both better regulation and less bureaucracy."
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"I would like to take this opportunity to wish the entire Jewish People a Happy Passover. This is the festival of going from slavery to freedom. A free and independent person also knows how to say ‘No’ when it is necessary and ‘Yes’ when it is possible. We are a free people in our land. Thank you very much."
2. National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel briefed ministers on socio-economic strategy.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett discussed he need to train personnel in accordance with economic needs and the preferences to be given to small businesses vis-à-vis easing the regulatory burden and in financing.
Senior Citizens Affairs Minister Uri Orbach discussed the necessity of preparing for an aging population.
Prime Minister’s Office Director General Harel Locker discussed work to advance digital infrastructures and noted their importance to economic growth, the general population and Israel’s technological advantage.
3. The Cabinet discussed the optimization of environmental regulation and approved a ‘green’ licensing process.
4. Israel Securities Agency Chairman Prof. Shmuel Hauser briefed ministers on the steps being taken to reduce ISA regulation and on the capital market in Israel.