DM Ben-Eliezer: Israel does not have any intention of holding on to PA territory

(Communicated by the Defense Minister’s Media Adviser)

21 October 2001

Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer today (Sunday), October 21, 2001, emphasized that the government of Israel and the defense establishment are committed to act in the interest of the security of the citizens of Israel.

Since the start of the armed confrontation, Israel has demanded that the Palestinian Authority and its leader act to halt the violence and fight terrorism. However, until now there have been no arrests, no cease-fires and no cessation of incitement, and it does not appear that there is a sincere intention on the part of the PA to move in this direction.

In light of this, the Cabinet has decided to operate in PA territory in every place from which terrorist activities emanate and where planning to perpetrate terrorism takes place.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer clarified that Israel does not, and will not, have any intention of holding on to PA territory, and in every place where the PA shows that it has sincere intentions to halt the violence and prevent attacks, we will withdraw our forces from the "A" areas (as was done in the past in Beit Jalla and Hebron).

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer emphasized that Israel is committed to the Mitchell and Tenet plans, and will continue to pursue a diplomatic solution. In this framework, the Cabinet has recently decided on steps to ease the restrictions on the Palestinian population. However, the defense establishment will continue to take all steps necessary to protect the citizens of the State of Israel.