TEL AVIV (Jan. 19)
The Inner Cabinet has given the Shin Bet more extensive power to combat the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It has also accepted a number of assumptions which seem to add up to an increased reliance on force, according to a report in Ma’ariv on Thursday.
The Shin Bet, Israel’s top secret internal security agency, has been given ministerial authorization to be more actively involved in foiling planned attacks, apprehending the terrorists responsible for them and gathering high quality intelligence, Ma’ariv said.
The Wednesday meeting of the Inner Cabinet, which consists of 10 senior ministers divided equally between Labor and Likud, was also attended by ranking officials responsible for security in East Jerusalem.
They agreed that the Palestine Liberation Organization has not become more moderate, but in fact has increased its involvement in the intifada since Yasir Arafat said he was ready for political diplomacy.
They declared that broadcasts from Arab countries are an important channel for keeping the uprising alive.
They also expressed disappointment at Israel’s inability to find non-PLO Palestinians with whom to conduct a dialogue.
Finally, the ministers agreed with the defense establishment that harsher punishment for rioters will gradually reduce the number of clashes between Palestinian youths and the Israel Defense Force, Ma’ariv reported.