(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 5 September 2010:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:
"First of all, a Happy New Year to all. We stand here with apples and honey and I hope that this also reflects our ability to bring about a good, blessed and - it is possible to say - a sweet year for the Jewish people. Certainly, great missions are before us, first of all the ability to move forward and achieve a genuine and secure peace process.
On Friday, I returned from Washington, from the first round of direct peace talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen. I would like to thank US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, [former] Senator George Mitchell and the entire US administration team, both for the heart-felt hospitality and mainly for the important role they played, and are playing, in moving the process forward.
I would like to also thank Egyptian President Mubarak and Jordanian King Abdullah II, both for participating in the event and for their consistent willingness to advance the peace process between us and the Palestinians and - I would say - between us and the entire Arab world. Even if there are important countries in the Arab world that have yet to line up behind the peace process, my impression is the willingness of President Mubarak and King Abdullah to attend, despite the attacks, reflects a sense of readiness that exists in the Arab world, that this is the time to try and complete a peace settlement between us and the Palestinians and to expand it into a broader cycle of peace. In my estimation, this sense stems both from an understanding of the significance of the alternatives and from the recognition that they simply must make peace with Israel.
After one and a half years, in which I called for direct talks without pre-conditions, I had, in Washington, the chance to hold a long, private talk with Abu Mazen. I very much hope that this conversation and the others that will come will allow us to open a direct, continuous and reliable link, which is essential to our ability to formulate a peace settlement between our two peoples. I proposed that we meet for such a private talk every two weeks, in which we would discuss the main issues on the agenda vis-a-vis a peace settlement, because I believe that what is currently necessary to move the process forward is not a plethora of teams, but decisions by leaders. I believe that the start of the Washington talks was an important step en route to a framework agreement between us and the Palestinians. We are aware of the difficulties. They are still before us, both in the short- and medium-term, but we will continue with our efforts to reach an agreement.
As I said in my [14 June 2009] Bar-Ilan University speech, the anchors for peace are recognition of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, recognition of our historic link to our homeland, an end to the conflict with us and an end to claims, and practical security measures on the ground that are in keeping with the new reality that has been created here in the past decade and which we will face in the coming decade as well. These security procedures will ensure that there will be no repetition of what occurred after we left Lebanon and Gaza.
I made it clear in Washington, as I said on the day that this Government was established, that Israel is completely committed to peace. I think that we have already proven that we are ready to go a long way in order to reach peace. But this time, in order to succeed, we will need to study the lessons of the seventeen-year effort at negotiations and to embrace original thinking, to think outside the box as it were. We will need to think creatively, and in new ways, about how to resolve complex problems. In order to reach practical solutions, we will need to think about new solutions to old problems. I believe that this is possible.
I am willing to achieve an historic compromise with our Palestinian neighbors so long as it maintains the national interests of the State of Israel with security first and foremost. I also express my hope that Palestinian [Authority] President Abu Mazen will continue on this path with me in the face of the tests and challenges that await us even now. We will continue to work so that together we may reach the common goal of peace, security and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.
I would like to wish the Government and people of Israel a good, sweet, secure and peaceful year, a year of security and peace."
2. Prime Minister Netanyahu briefed ministers on his trip to, and meeting in, the US regarding the direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
3. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz briefed ministers on the state of the Israeli economy.
4. Pursuant to Article 3(c) of Basic Law: The Army and in accordance with the recommendation of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Cabinet decided to appoint Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant as the IDF Chief-of-Staff, effective 14 February 2011. Lt.-Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi will complete his duties as Chief-of-Staff upon Maj.-Gen. Galant's entry into the office.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Yoav Galant has proven himself over 33 years of service on the front line of the IDF, as a brave fighter, an outstanding officer and a sagacious and responsible commander in battle. He has served - inter alia - as the commander of the naval commando unit, the commander of the Jenin Brigade, GOC Gaza, the Prime Minister's Military Secretary and GOC Southern Command. His appointment will continue the tradition of excellence that current IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi has fostered in the IDF. I would like to thank both of them."
5. Pursuant to Article 2(a) of the 2002 Arts and Culture Law and in accordance with the recommendation of Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, the Cabinet appointed four members to the National Council for Culture and the Arts.
6. Pursuant to Article 7(a) of the 1990 Second Authority for Television and Radio Law and in accordance with the recommendation of Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, the Cabinet appointed Ilan Avisar as a member and acting Chairman of the Second Authority for Television and Radio Council.