“I believe that resuming the diplomatic process at this time is important for the State of Israel, both in order to try to bring about an end to the conflict, and given the complex reality in our region, especially the security challenges from Syria and Iran.
“Any settlement, should one be achieved in the negotiations, will be submitted to a referendum. It is important that every citizen have a direct vote on fateful decisions such as these that will determine the future of the State.
“Today, we will authorize a ministerial team to determine the identity of the prisoners that will be released after the opening of the diplomatic process and in keeping with its progress. The team under my leadership will include Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Science, Technology and Space Minister—and former ISA Director—Yaakov Peri.
“This moment is not easy for me. It is not easy for the ministers. It is not easy especially for the families, the bereaved families, whose hearts I understand. But there are moments in which tough decisions must be made for the good of the country and this is one of those moments.”
The Cabinet approved the opening of diplomatic negotiations between the State of Israel and the Palestinians in accordance with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement on the negotiations. The Cabinet also decided to authorize a ministerial team (see above for its members), the work of which will begin after the opening of the negotiations.
The ministerial team will take all measures necessary for the release of 104 prisoners in the framework of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, only after the negotiations will have begun and in accordance with their progress, according to the conditions, criteria, dates and groups to be set by the team, including publicly listing their names.
The State of Israel reserves to itself the right to take all measures against any of the prisoners who will be released should they return to terrorism or violate the terms of their release, in addition to returning them to serve the remainders of their sentences, as will be decided upon by the proper authorities.
Prime Minister Netanyahu thanks US Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts to bring about the resumption of the diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Posted on July 29, 2013
Source: (Excerpts of press release from Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, July 28, 2013)
Photo Credit: Ashernet
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