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Sunday, June 15, 2003
CABINET COMMUNIQUE June 15 [Israel accepts cocked gun?]

CABINET COMMUNIQUE June 15 [Israel accepts cocked gun?]
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
Sunday, June 15, 2003

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 15.6.2003:

[IMRA: "Red lines" notwithstanding, there is considerable concern that the
pronouncement that "At the same time, this situation does not absolve the
Palestinian Authority from its basic responsibility to ensure security on
its territory and to
fight terror." when followed by the line that "Provided that Israel is not
attacked, we will not retaliate except for essential operations in
self-defense, such as in the case of a "ticking bomb." is acceptance of the
"hudna" that Israel so rightly rejected.

If it is indeed the case that Israel has accepted the Palestinian "cocked
gun" - even allowing the terrorists to flourish, grow, arm and train safe
from Israeli attack until the terrorists reach the conclusion it serves
their interests to finally pull the triggers of their growing arsenal of
cocked guns - then this represents another major victory for Palestinian
terror and Israeli retreat from its stated positions.]

1. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that following the Aqaba summit, there
were three days of quiet followed by a harsh wave of terror, the aim of
which was to murder and injure Jews, and to bring about the failure of the
diplomatic process.

Prime Minister Sharon emphasized that we will stand by our decisions and
statements. We have said that Israel will act severely against terror
organizations and this is what we have done.

The Prime Minister pointed to the change in the US position, and explained
that the US understands that terror will cause the political process - which
is seen as crucial - to fail. The Prime Minister also explained that the
intensity of Israeli operations has led to heavy US pressure on the
Palestinians and to serious concerns in Hamas itself.

Prime Minister Sharon noted that Israel would welcome a ceasefire, should
one be attained. Provided that Israel is not attacked, we will not
retaliate except for essential operations in self-defense, such as in the
case of a "ticking bomb."

At the same time, this situation does not absolve the Palestinian Authority
from its basic responsibility to ensure security on its territory and to
fight terror.

It must be made clear that all settlements are territorial - defined
responsibility in a defined area. Should there be terror activity in an
area defined as being under their responsibility, we retain the right to act
in those areas.

Moreover, as long as the Palestinians refuse to take full responsibility and
act accordingly to prevent terror, as opposed to paying mere lip service,
Israel will continue to act.

Prime Minister Sharon clarified that Israel has a major interest in the
diplomatic process, that this has been stated many times in the past and
that his opinion on this matter has not changed. However, the Prime
Minister is concerned - along with all Israeli citizens - over recent terror

The Prime Minister said that we must understand that these are the labor
pains of entering a process, it is a complicated and intricate matter, and
therefore everything must be received with patience, and we must see how
matters develop; however, as long as terror continues, we have no choice but
to act. Prime Minister Sharon added that he is prepared to make painful
concessions in return for true peace, but is not willing to make any
compromises on security matters.

OC Intelligence Major-General Ze'evi Farkash briefed ministers on the
Palestinian situation and discussed events since the Aqaba summit until

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz briefed ministers on the series of terror
attacks perpetrated over the past week, which resulted in the deaths of 24
Israelis and dozens more injured. The Defense Minister said that this wave
of terror is an attempt by Hamas and other terrorist organizations to wreck
the diplomatic process.

Defense Minister Mofaz said that Israel has acted, and will continue to act,
in the struggle against terror, without compromise. The Defense Minister
added that since there is no difference between Al-Qaeda and Hamas, our war
against this organization is just.

The Defense Minister emphasized that the terror attacks perpetrated by Hamas
were planned without any connection to the attempt to eliminate Rantisi and
added that Hamas began to commit premeditated atrocities immediately after
the Aqaba summit.

Defense Minister Mofaz added that the US administration is insistent in its
pressure on the Palestinian Authority to take responsibility and begin
working against the terrorist organizations. The Defense Minister stressed
that in the event the Palestinian Authority fails to do so, Israel will act
accordingly. Defense Minister Mofaz commented that the Palestinian
Authority has the power to act differently and without delay.

Defense Minister Mofaz said that transferring responsibility to the
Palestinian Authority would be carried out within clear pre-defined borders,
where it will be possible to monitor and assess their operations. Talks on
transferring such responsibility began last night in a meeting between
Major-General Amos Gilad, senior ISA officials and Muhammad Dahlan, and
added that the process of transferring such responsibility to the
Palestinians would be long, difficult and accompanied with crises. Security
is the central anchor for the continuation of this process.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom briefed ministers on the results of his visit
to Russia last week, during which he met with his Russian counterpart Igor
Ivanov, Russian Minister for Atomic Energy Alexander Rumyantsev, the
Federation Chairman and representatives of the local Jewish community.

Foreign Minister Shalom referred to messages he gave to the Russians
regarding to Israel's desire to enhance its relations with Russia in all
spheres, and the important role Russia has to play in advancing the peace
process between Israel and the Arabs. Foreign Minister Shalom impressed on
Minister Ivanov the need for joint international action to ensure that Iran
does not succeed in acquiring the ability to develop nuclear weapons.

Foreign Minister Shalom reported on his conversation with US Secretary of
State Colin Powell, with EU High Representative for Common Foreign and
Security Policy Javier Solana and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko
Kawaguchi. Foreign Minister Shalom clarified Israel's position in regard to
recent terror attacks and the need to press the Palestinians to fulfill
their obligations in the campaign against terror.

Foreign Minister Shalom added that a team of US inspectors would arrive in
the area to oversee the implementation of the road map. The team will
remain in Israel for 10 days in order to study the area and various other

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