(Communicated by the Defense Minister’s Media Adviser)
1 October 2001
Following the meetings held today (Monday), 1.10.2001, between Israeli and Palestinian commanders in the various districts, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has approved several additional measures to ease the closure on the Palestinian Authority areas:
1. The roadblocks around Jericho will be fully opened; strict care will be taken that only approved Palestinian vehicles travel on the Jordan Valley highway (#90).
2. Tanks will be withdrawn from areas of friction in those districts where quiet is maintained and there is security coordination.
3. Traffic – including passage through checkpoints – will be eased throughout Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, such as the full opening of the Gaza-Rafiah route to traffic.
Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer also directed the IDF to as much as possible refrain from harming civilian populations and to strictly adhere to the existing open-fire orders.
Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer emphasizes that the measures which have been approved, as well as those which were carried out yesterday, are in accordance with the government’s decision to exhaust the diplomatic process with the goal of bringing about a cessation of terrorist attacks. This is in spite of the fact that the Palestinian Authority has still not fulfilled its part of the agreement according to the Tenet document.
Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer will consider further security measures according to the level of violence and the degree to which the PA upholds the agreement.