Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat and the Government Press Office

The Cabinet has, this morning (Friday), 29.3.2002, issued the following statement:

"The Cabinet met last night in special session against the background of the severe escalation in Palestinian terror.

The Cabinet approved, in principle, a wide-ranging operational action plan against Palestinian terror.

Israel will act to defeat the infrastructure of Palestinian terror in all its parts and components; to this end, broad action will be undertaken until this goal is secured.

Arafat - who set up a coalition of terror against Israel - is an enemy; at this stage, he will be isolated.

The Cabinet approved the mobilization of reserves as per operational need."

Address by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Press Conference, March 29, 2002

Good morning,

In the past few days we have witnessed horrific terrorist attacks - the attack during the Pesach Seder in Netanya, where 21 people were killed, tonight's events in Eilon More, resulting in 4 deaths, and the incident which is currently taking place in Netzarim where so far two people have been killed.

I take this opportunity to extend my condolences to the bereaved families. I know that there is no remedy for your pain, and I believe that we all share this expression of condolence and sympathy. I also wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, among them there are still a large number of people who are very severely injured.

All this has happened at a time when Israel's hand was - and still is - extended towards peace. We have done everything in our power to achieve a cease-fire and an immediate entry into the Tenet process in order to advance any possibility of a cease-fire. All we have received in return was terrorism, terrorism and more terrorism.

No sovereign nation would tolerate such a sequence of events.

Therefore, the government, in a special session lasting throughout the night, and in accordance with the recommendations from all the security agencies - the Chief of Intelligence, the Chief of the GSS, and the Director of the Mossad - has made the following decision:

The Government has approved principles for extensive operational activity against Palestinian terrorism. As we speak, the IDF is already inside the "Mukta'a" in Ramallah.

Israel will act to crush the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure, in all its parts and components, and will carry out comprehensive activity to achieve this goal.

Arafat, who has established a coalition of terror against Israel, is an enemy and at this point he will be isolated.

The Government has authorized the mobilization of reserve forces, in accordance with the operational needs, in order to enable the IDF ongoing, lengthy activities in various terrorism centers.

On behalf of the government of Israel and the citizens of Israel and on my own behalf, I wish to extend my best wishes to the IDF for success in this mission.

At times such as these we are all required to demonstrate responsibility and mainly unity, and I am confident that we will do so.