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Wednesday, October 8, 2003
CABINET COMMUNIQUE Wednesday, October 08, 2003

CABINET COMMUNIQUE Wednesday, October 08, 2003
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday), 8.10.2003:

1. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz briefed ministers on current security
matters and noted that the recent holidays were marked by the 4.10.2003
bombing at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa
(http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0nuf0). The attack was
perpetrated by a female suicide terrorist affiliated with the Jenin branch
of Islamic Jihad, which had been trying for weeks to perpetrate an attack in
Israel. The security establishment is investigating how she managed to
enter Israel. The Defense Minister said that the Haifa attack interrupted a
series of impressive successes by the security establishment since the
previous round of suicide attacks almost one month ago. In the wake of the
attack, the entry of Palestinians into Israel has been prevented; a complete
closure has been imposed for the duration of the holidays and internal
closures have been imposed on towns in Judea and Samaria, thus preventing
traffic between them except for humanitarian needs (see
http://www.idf.il/english/announcements/2003/october/07d.stm); supervision
has been tightened at crossings and checkpoints; the operation in Jenin has
been widened (see
http://www.idf.il/english/announcements/2003/october/07a.stm); Rafiah has
been isolated from Khan Yunis and operations against weapons smuggling via
tunnels from Egypt continue (see
http://www.idf.il/english/announcements/2003/october/05e.stm); and
counter-terrorist operations continue
(http://www.idf.il/newsite/english/1008-2.stm). The Defense Minister has
ordered that IDF units - regular and reserve - in Judea, Samaria and Gaza be
reinforced according to operational needs. The Defense Minister reminded
ministers that the response to the Haifa attack included a new element -
bombing a terrorist target in Syria (see
http://www.idf.il/english/announcements/2003/october/5.stm). This aerial
attack was aimed at a terrorist training base under the logistical auspices
of the PFLP and Ahmed Jibril's organization, in which all Palestinian
terrorist groups - including Islamic Jihad - trained. In contravention of
mendacious Syrian reports, the base was active and not abandoned, and was
not a refugee camp. Israel attacked Syria because the latter not only
sponsors Lebanese terrorist groups such as Hizballah but provides active
support, financing and assistance to centers of terrorism in Judea, Samaria
and Gaza. Israel has warned Syria more than once but Damascus chose to
ignore these warnings. Syria appealed to the UN Security Council in order
to create the impression that its response was purely diplomatic. However,
in actual practice, there was sniper fire at IDF troops near Metulla (see
http://www.idf.il/english/announcements/2003/october/06.stm) and mortar fire
at IDF positions near Manda (see
http://www.idf.il/english/announcements/2003/october/07.stm). Israel is
continuing to charge Syria with responsibility for anti-Israel terrorism
that either originates from its territory or which enjoys Damascus'
sponsorship. Israel has no interest in escalating the situation but cannot
allow external anti-Israel terrorism to enjoy immunity. Regarding the
formation of Abu Ala's government, the Defense Minister said that Israel's
position regarding the new government is as it always has been - Israel will
judge it according to its actions, especially the way it deals with terror
and the infrastructures of terror.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom briefed ministers on diplomatic issues
regarding Abu Ala's government and said that the latter will deal with
Israel and the US after gaining legitimacy at home. The Foreign Minister
said that Abu Ala's objectives are as follows: Restore Yasser Arafat to the
center of events, temporarily halt terrorist attacks in order to show the
world that Arafat is "capable of supplying the goods" and push the ball into
Israel's court, agree on a ceasefire with Israel and build legitimacy for
his government. The Foreign Minister emphasized that Abu Ala has not made a
strategic decision to dismantle the infrastructures of terror. He said that
the Palestinians are waging a propaganda campaign in Europe and the US aimed
at showing that the security fence is political, and added that they expect
the support of the UN Security Council on this issue. The Foreign Minister
noted the US administration had notified Congress on 30.9.2003 regarding the
loan guarantees being provided to Israel and had informed Congress that the
question of deducting the costs of the fence was the subject of bilateral
discussions. The Foreign Minister also discussed the international
repercussions of the 4.10.2003 suicide bombing in Haifa and the attack on
Syria.

2. Minister Natan Sharansky briefed ministers on his recent trip to 13 US
university campuses and on his meetings with Jewish and non-Jewish students.
He urged that all ministers who travel to the US visit university campuses
and address students.

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