(Communicated by the Defense Minister’s Media Adviser)
15 November 2001
Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer yesterday (Wednesday), November 14, 2001, authorized a series of steps to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan. The main points of the civilian and military easing of restrictions, which went into affect this morning, are as follows:
- Easing of restrictions on Palestinian travel within Judea and Samaria, including the opening of roadblocks and certain roads.
- Extending the operational hours of the Rafiah border crossing.
- Expanding the fishing area to 12 miles off the coast of Gaza.
- Release of 30 prisoners and illegal Palestinian workers currently in Israeli custody for the Id el-Fitr holiday at the conclusion of Ramadan, according to the recommendations of the Israel Prison Services and IDF.
- Resumption of prison visits in Israel for families from Judea and Samaria.
- Authorization for relatives from Arab states to visit families in Judea, Samaria and Gaza during the month of Ramadan.
- Increasing the number of Palestinian merchants allowed to enter Israel to 5,000.
- Adding extra days for Muslim worship at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and permission for worshipers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza to attend Friday prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer emphasized that Israel is interested in expanding the easing of restrictions for those Palestinians who do not take part in terrorist activities. Continued implementation of easing of restrictions is conditional upon the security situation in the field.
The Defense Minister clarified that Israel will take every step possible to bring about an end to the violence and terror attacks, and expects the PA to take the necessary actions to fight terrorism and bring an end to the attacks.