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Sunday, November 16, 2008
CABINET COMMUNIQUE [PM Olmert's remarks indicate Hamas can prepare to attack Israel within framework of the calm]

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

"Recently, they have repeatedly tried to frustrate these understandings
whether by digging tunnels designed to facilitate the perpetration of
attacks and suicide actions against Israelis, by firing GRAD and Kassam
rockets at civilian communities and by attempts to attack IDF forces near
the border fence." => building bunkers and a network of tunnels inside the
Gaza Strip is OK - just not near the line. Manufacturing rockets is OK as
long as they are not launched. Etc.

"I have also instructed that the ongoing discussions between the defense and
legal establishments be brought to a close forthwith, so that the Cabinet
might be briefed on the options for action against Hamas's terrorist regime
and its military arm, without their being subject to restrictions that could
harm our ability to employ the necessary strength to respond to these
violations of the calm." => For those Israelis wondering why we have an
announcement that sounds like a broken record as, once again, we ask for
plans from the IDF, this time we are really really really serious. We are
asking the lawyers to sign off on the plans. Now why didn't we do this last
time. Or the time before that. Or the time before that. Or .. Well never
mind. Because this time, the Olmert-Livni-Barak is really really really
serious. Then again, each time the shooting stops we start a stop clock.
And if we can go enough hours without any attacks then we won't do anything.
Nothing. That's right. So that we can go on with elections while Hamas
continues to get stronger with every day. But that won't matter. What
matters is the elections.]

CABINET COMMUNIQUE
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 16.11.08:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed the situation in the south: "The
weekend was marked by another round of violence between us and the terrorist
regime that controls the Gaza Strip. Several months ago, the terrorist
organizations committed themselves to understandings, the goal of which was
to achieve calm. Recently, they have repeatedly tried to frustrate these
understandings whether by digging tunnels designed to facilitate the
perpetration of attacks and suicide actions against Israelis, by firing GRAD
and Kassam rockets at civilian communities and by attempts to attack IDF
forces near the border fence. It is no secret that Israel did not
wholeheartedly embrace the understandings that gave rise to the situation
defined as calm but it honored them unilaterally. The responsibility for
breaking the calm and creating a situation of recurrent continuing violence
in the South lays entirely with Hamas and the other terrorist organizations
active in the Gaza Strip. Let nobody come to the Government of Israel and
claim otherwise. Last week, I visited the IDF Gaza Division. In any case,
we cannot tolerate the price that the terrorist organizations are trying to
set for the prevailing situation there. It is our right to prevent further
terrorism, threats and the breaking of the calm that is harming - first and
foremost - the residents of the area. We have acted, and we will continue
to act, by every proper means in order to prevent a situation in which this
'calm' from working against the security of the residents of Israel.
Following last week's Cabinet discussion and assessments that I held this
past Friday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and senior defense
establishment officials, I have instructed the latter to submit to me - as
soon as possible - their proposals for formulating an action plan that
will - if necessary - be submitted to the proper Government officials in
order to - inter alia - restore full quiet in the South. I have also
instructed that the ongoing discussions between the defense and legal
establishments be brought to a close forthwith, so that the Cabinet might be
briefed on the options for action against Hamas's terrorist regime and its
military arm, without their being subject to restrictions that could harm
our ability to employ the necessary strength to respond to these violations
of the calm. I know that tempers are rising and various voices are being
heard. My Government has always acted, in such situations, with equanimity
and sagacity in making its decisions and thus we will act now."

2. Public Security Minister Avi Dicter and Israel Prison Service
Commissioner Benny Kaniak briefed ministers on the situation in the IPS and
on its 2009-2013 multi-year plan for improving prison conditions, and the
welfare and treatment of prisoners.
Prime Minister Olmert commended IPS Commissioner Kaniak and the work of IPS
personnel. He said - inter alia - that, "We are a country that defines
itself as enlightened and we think that must uphold certain standards. We
want to deal in rehabilitation. We want to offer alternatives that will
facilitate the reduction of the prison population in the future, including
both common criminals and terrorist criminals, whom - in the end - we would
like to see not being dragged anew into terrorist activities, despite harsh
and complex influences to the contrary."

3. National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Water
Commissioner Uri Shani briefed ministers on projected the water situation
for 2009 and over the next five years.

4. The Cabinet discussed the issue of tender exemptions for various civil
service positions.

5. The Cabinet discussed urban renewal projects in Nahariya, Netanya,
Rehovot and Tel Aviv.

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