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Bibi’s Remarks From Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Following are Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks from the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, May 09, 2010.

“I would like to welcome the Palestinian Authority’s decision to begin proximity talks.  At this opportunity, I would like to say two things.  One, these talks are developing and are taking place without preconditions, as we requested and as we insisted upon during the past year.  The second thing is that the proximity talks must quickly lead to direct talks. Peace cannot be made from a distance or by remote control, especially given that we and the Palestinians are neighbors.  Over time, it is inconceivable that we will make decisions and agreements on critical issues such as security and our national interests, and theirs as well, without sitting together in the same room.  Therefore, as soon as possible, the proximity talks will need to lead to direct talks in which we will continue the effort to reach the peace and security that will enable us to live alongside the Palestinians for generations.

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the victory over the Nazis.  Five hundred thousand Jews participated in the Red Army, in partisan units and in the underground.  They fought with supreme heroism, commanded units and many fell, alongside – of course – the millions of non-Jews who also fought with heroism.  We salute the veterans, almost 10,000 of whom live in Israel.  We bow our heads in deep appreciation of your sacrifice.  The fact is that in this struggle, you saved humanity and the remnant of the Jewish People.  We note our esteem for the struggle of the Red Army and the Jews in it in two ways: One, President Shimon Peres will represent Israel at the main event taking place in Moscow today.  Two, during my last visit to Russia, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and I agreed that the Israeli Government would construct a national memorial site in Netanya to honor the memory of those who fell in the ranks of the Red Army.  We have now begun the construction of this memorial.  We will also see to the wellbeing of veterans and Holocaust survivors.  I would like to wish you a happy VE Day.

This week, we celebrate Jerusalem Day; Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is here with us today.  That we are committed to Jerusalem is well known, but I would like to note two matters, in particular, that we are focusing on: The economic and technological development of the city and the preservation of heritage sites in it.  Regarding the former, we will – today – grant preference area ‘A’ status to enterprises in Jerusalem that have been approved by the Capital Investment Encouragement Law.  This attests to our commitment to try to create employment here that befits the 21st-century and to maintain and bring in economically strong populations in order to strengthen our city and ensure its future.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu also noted that the Cabinet would act to preserve two structures in Jerusalem that served Israel’s Presidents from 1952 to 1972.  The Prime Minister said that he believes that these structures should be converted into a museum and added that he would ask Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eli Gabbai to allocate NIS 5 million, from this year’s heritage project budget, to this end.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem / GPO)

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