Prime Minister Ariel Sharon briefed the Cabinet on his trip to the
U.S. He made it clear that the objectives of his visit were achieved and
that, in his meetings with U.S. President George W. Bush, senior
administration officials and members of Congress, he had clarified
Israel's positions on the main issues - issues on which there was a
large degree of understanding and agreement in the U.S.: the importance of
regional stability, and terrorism and the danger it poses to regional
During his U.S. meetings, Prime Minister Sharon emphasized the dangers
posed by the striving of radical elements in the region - mainly Iraq and Iran - to arm themselves with non-conventional weapons and ballistic missiles.
Regarding the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Prime
Minister Sharon stressed the principle that disputes be settled by
peaceful means and that violence and terrorism be abandoned. In this
context, the Prime Minister referred to Palestinian Authority Chairman
Yasser Arafat's letter to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of 9.9.93
in which he points out that the PLO rejects the use of terrorism and other forms of
violence, and accepts upon himself the responsibility for the actions of
his people in order to uphold this obligation and punish those who break
Prime Minister Sharon made it clear that while Israel is committed to
peace, contacts for peace will take place without the pressure of
terrorism and violence. The Prime Minister similarly made it clear to
his American interlocutors that his government strives to distinguish
between dealing with terrorist elements and easing restrictions on
populations that are not involved with terrorism.
During his trip, Prime Minister Sharon enhanced his personal
relationship with U.S. President Bush, senior administration officials,
leading members of Congress and American Jewish community leaders.
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. David Ivri will coordinate the bilateral
strategic cooperation dialogue. The US's commitment to Israel and its
security remains strong and is based on shared interests and values.
Prime Minister Sharon expressed his opposition to an international
observer force as part of Israel's opposition to the
internationalization of the conflict and in accordance with the
principle that there can be no reward for violence.
Prime Minister Sharon noted that he had raised the issue of Israel's
POWs and MIAs with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, both of whom promised to help.
Prime Minister Sharon clarified the importance of relations with Egypt
and Egypt's role vis-a-vis regional peace, and stressed that Israel is
interested in maintaining the peace and improving relations with Egypt.
The Prime Minister noted that while in the U.S., he held no discussions on
the issue of American aid to Egypt.
Israel Police Inspector-General Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki
briefed the Cabinet on issues having to do with domestic security and
public order ahead of "Land Day" on Friday, 30.3.2001, including police
deployment. He expressed the hope that the expected "Land Day" events
will be moderate, non-violent and reasonable in scope.
Inspector-General Aharonishki briefed the Cabinet on: 1) the
neutralization of a car-bomb in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood
last Wednesday, 2) car-bombs in Jerusalem since November 2000 and 3) the
murder of Kibbutz Manara's security coordinator.
Inspector-General Aharonishki devoted a considerable portion of his
briefing to the latest violent crime wave in Israel. On this issue,
Prime Minister Sharon stated that violence in Israeli society - in the
family, among young people and in schools - is a national blight and a
harsh and disturbing social phenomenon. The Cabinet approved the Prime
Minister's proposal to form a ministerial committee on the struggle
against violence, to be headed by Minister Shmuel Avital. The committee
will - inter alia - monitor the scope and characteristics of violence
and crime, prepare a comprehensive national plan on the struggle against
all aspects of violence, and coordinate among the various law
enforcement bodies, the courts, schools and social services on the
issue. The committee will also consider the need for changes in
legislation and in the implementation of existing legislation in order
to step up the struggle against violence and crime.