(Communicated by the Defense Minister’s Media Adviser)
15 October 2001
Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer last night (Sunday), 14.10.2001, in the framework of the "kitchen" Cabinet’s decision, and after the Israeli-Palestinian-American joint security meeting, ordered military and civilian steps to be taken in order to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population.
This morning (Monday), 15.10.2001, the IDF withdrew from Abu-Sneineh and Harat A-Sheikh, removed roadblocks and opened transportation arteries, mainly in the Jericho, Ramallah, Kalandiya areas and the main route connecting the northern Gaza Strip and the southern Gaza Strip.
In addition, Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer permitted the gradual expansion of the fishing areas opposite the Gaza Strip coast, as well as the controlled and coordinated movement of the Palestinian Police personnel between Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
The Allenby and Rafiah crossings will soon reopen on a 24-hour-a-day footing. The entry of Palestinian merchants and business people into Israel in accordance with security criteria will soon be introduced. Restrictions on the movement of those Palestinians holding VIP cards will soon be eased.
The easing of restrictions will be implemented according to the security situation.
Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer emphasizes that all decisions were made with a view towards the security of Israeli citizens, and with the intention of minimizing, as far as possible, the hardship of the general Palestinian population.
At the same time, Israel will continue to take all necessary steps to protect its citizens and to uncompromisingly fight terrorism.