At the weekly
At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, 21 June 2009:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the diplomatic speech that he gave at Bar-Ilan University last week: “The importance of the speech was in defining Israel’s national consensus on achieving a peace agreement. The items that I presented are not conditions for the start of negotiations. We do not condition the start of negotiations on any conditions; on the contrary, we insist that there be no pre-conditions either by our side or by the other side. But I certainly expressed fundamental positions that are vital for Israel’s future, for the existence of a genuine peace with its neighbors and for the maintenance of its security, since there is no peace without security.
The two main points that I sought to emphasize were, first of all, that we are talking about two states for two peoples and one of these is the Jewish people, and the Jewish people are entitled to a national state of their own. Of course, there are non-Jews in Israel and they enjoy full civil rights but the state is a state of the Jewish people, with the symbols, language and holidays of the Jewish people, and with the ability of every Jew to immigrate here and become a citizen, which is not true regarding the so-called ‘right of return.’ This will not be implemented in the State of Israel.
It was important to me to emphasize that the Palestinian side must recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish people just as we are being asked to recognize the Palestinian state as the national state of the Palestinian people. Moreover, a peace agreement must put an end to their claims in this regard and to all claims, and put an end to the conflict.
I think that, if we are serious in our desire to achieve a peace agreement, we must be serious in this demand, which we are making of the other side as one of the two main components of the peace.
The second issue, of course, is demilitarization, because security will not be achieved except by demilitarization, and demilitarization does not detract from Palestinian self-determination. I do not understand why, for the purpose of Palestinian self-determination, they need Kassams and GRAD missiles. I can understand that they need a strong police force and security services; we are encouraging this. But they do not need tanks, artillery or missiles. We, however, on the basis of our experience and what has happened in the places we evacuated, are entitled – more than any other country in the world – to demand that the Palestinian state be a demilitarized state.
Therefore, on these principles – recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people and an end to claims, and the clear demand that the international community guarantee effective demilitarization measures – I think that we have thereby covered the areas of a very broad consensus among the Israeli public that may have been vague and unclear until now. I think that what was done clarified the basis of the national consensus that is necessary to achieve peace. I insisted on these matters in my talks with foreign leaders. We will discuss them today and I will continue to raise them in my talks in Europe.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu informed the Cabinet of his trip this week and of his talks with French and Italian leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. He also noted that he will meet with George Mitchell in Paris.
The Cabinet held a diplomatic discussion following the Prime Minister’s remarks.
2. Prime Minister Netanyahu announced his decision to extend the term of office of Mossad Director Meir Dagan until the end of 2010.
3. Pursuant to the 1959 State Service Law (Appointments) and on the basis of the recommendation of the State Service Committee, the Cabinet decided to exempt from public tender five senior positions in the Defense Ministry National Emergency Authority.
4. The Cabinet decided to rename the Bailiff’s Office and Fine Collection Center as the Enforcement and Collection Authority.
5. The Cabinet established the Ministerial Committee on the advancement of the Status of Women and appointed Minister Limor Livnat as its Chair.
6. The Cabinet established the Ministerial State Control Committee and appointed Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman as its Chair.
7. The Cabinet discussed ways to improve and make more efficient the licensing of business enterprises in Israel in comparison to other countries and, to this end, appointed a steering committee to make the relevant recommendations.
8. The Cabinet approved measures to extend government participation in daycare costs incurred by qualified working mothers who reside in southern confrontation-line communities.
9. Pursuant to Article 14a of the 1988 Anti-Drug Authority Law, the Cabinet appointed Yair Geller as the Authority’s Director.