7 October 2002

DM Ben-Eliezer meets ICRC President Jacob Kellenberger
(Communicated by the Defense Minister’s Media Adviser)

Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer met today (Monday), October 7, 2002, with International Community Red Cross President Dr. Jacob Kellenberger; the two men discussed ways to improve the humanitarian situation in the territories.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer emphasized that in conjunction with the vigorous struggle against terror, everything possible must be done to ease the suffering of the Palestinian population in the territories. In this framework, the Defense Minister has so far approved, inter alia, 25,000 permits for Palestinians to work in Israel.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer gave permission to the Red Cross to widen its contacts with IDF officers and the Civil Administration in order to bring about maximum humanitarian relief on the ground. He also directed to increase the dissemination of information on humanitarian issues within the security establishment, in conjunction with the Red Cross.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer requested that the organization invest more effort into the issue of Israel’s POWs and MIAs – to obtain more information, visits and to resolve the problem.