Jerusalem, 14 October 2001

Cabinet decides on easing of restrictions on Palestinian population
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

Cabinet Secretary Gideon Saar today (Sunday), 14.10.2001, briefed the press on the weekly Cabinet meeting:

1. Cabinet Secretary Saar noted the steps to be taken to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population that were decided upon by the "kitchen" Cabinet:

  1. Opening of the Kalandiya road block.
  2. Removal of road blocks in a manner that will allow free movement between certain cities in Judea and Samaria.
  3. Dealing with the issue of entry of fuel to the PA territories.
  4. Expanding the area permitted for fishing opposite the northern Gaza Strip to 12 miles.
  5. Israel will be prepared to lift closures if the Palestinians will fulfill certain conditions. The conditions regarding each specific city will be agreed upon at joint security meetings.

2. Furthermore, the issue of IDF withdrawal from "A" territories in Abu-Sneineh and Harat a-Sheikh was raised during the meeting. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon noted during the meeting that in return for a concrete Palestinian commitment to prevent shootings in all of Hebron, the IDF would withdraw from the aforementioned areas. The issue will be clarified in joint security meetings with the goal of establishing practical arrangements for implementation. In the case of a violation of the commitments, the IDF will return to these, and other, areas based on the circumstances. Prime Minister Sharon also noted that the army will be on alert to return to these areas in case of violations.

3. It was emphasized that IDF anti-terror operations would not be altered due to the easing of restrictions on the Palestinian population. In light of the current alerts of attacks, and under the circumstances where the Palestinians are failing to fulfill their commitments to prevent terrorist attacks and arrest terrorists, Israel has no alternative other than to act according to the principles of self-defense.