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Wednesday, July 2, 2003
CABINET COMMUNIQUE - DM Mofaz on security transfer

CABINET COMMUNIQUE - DM Mofaz on security transfer
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

[IMRA: It should be noted that the Sharon Administration has been very
careful to avoid making public any information that would enable the public,
or for that matter, the Knesset, to determine if the Palestinians are
honoring a performance timetable - if such a timetable actually exists.]

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday), 2.7.2003:

1. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz briefed ministers on current security
matters and noted that after approximately 1,000 days of a severe terror
onslaught, a new chapter - full of hopes and concerns - has been opened in
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said that the fact that the
Palestinian side has - at this stage - decided on a halt in terror is, first
and foremost, a result of the strength of Israeli society and the Israeli
security services' determined and effective war. He added that following a
detailed dialogue led by Coordinator of Government Activities in the
Territories Maj.-Gen. Amos Gilad, it has been agreed to transfer security
responsibility over the Gaza Strip and Bethlehem to the Palestinians. As
per the agreement, Israel is committed to transferring security
responsibility over certain areas in accordance with agreed-upon security
procedures designed to maintain its security interests, and take
civil-economic measures to ease conditions for the Palestinian public. The
Palestinian side has committed itself to halting terror, stopping the
launching of Kassam rockets and mortar rounds, dealing with warnings and
attacks, and collecting illegal weapons.

Defense Minister Mofaz stressed that Israel is not a party to the hudna and
that it demands that the Palestinian Authority move - after a certain period
of time - from stopping terror to uprooting its infrastructures. He noted
that the agreement on the transfer of responsibility was made possible, to a
large extent, by Israel's success - during the previous week - in foiling a
serious of severe suicide attacks that were planned for inside Israel,
including the foiling of a suicide squad that was on its way to Haifa and
Petah Tikva. He added that Israel is closely monitoring the implementation
of the Palestinians' commitments and asserted that despite the drop in the
volume of warnings and violent activity on the ground, there are still
warnings of planned attacks, mainly by those who oppose the ceasefire and
who are drawing on external elements.

Defense Minister Mofaz said that Israel was giving the diplomatic process a
chance and intends to move it forward, while paying strict attention to the
security issue.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom discussed diplomatic issues related to the
ceasefire (hudna) negotiations among the Palestinians and the separation
fence. He briefed ministers on his meetings with King Abdallah, UN
Secy.-Gen. Kofi Annan, US Secy. of State Colin Powell and various foreign
ministers at the World Economic Forum, which was held in Jordan on
21-23.6.2003. He reminded ministers that he had demanded the return of Arab
ambassadors to Israel.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon briefed ministers on his important meeting
yesterday with Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen. He reminded ministers
that he had demanded the dismantling of the terrorist organizations, a halt
to incitement and a transition to education for peace. It was agreed to
establish joint committees to discuss a range of issues that came up during
the meeting. In response to the request of the Palestinian delegation
regarding the movements of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, Prime Minister Sharon
said that while Arafat could make a one-time passage to Gaza in order to
stay there, Arafat could not be allowed to move around because such
movements would make it more difficult to take the necessary steps against
terror.

On the prisoners issue, Prime Minister Sharon said that the matter was under
consideration.

Regarding Israel-US relations, Prime Minister Sharon said that the two
countries enjoyed a deep and good bilateral relationship. He made it clear
that while there is no bilateral consensus on the separation fence, the
fence is a security issue on which Israel cannot compromise.

2. The Cabinet - in accordance with Article 18 of Basic Law: The President
of the State (http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH00hc0) -
authorized President Moshe Katsav's upcoming state visits to Moldova,
Croatia and Slovakia, according to invitations from their respective
presidents. President Katsav will meet national, economic and local Jewish
community leaders in each country.

3. Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed ministers on the raising of
foreign capital and on his recent trip abroad for this purpose, including
his meetings with investors and analysts.

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