Israeli and Palestinian Teams Conclude Meeting

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Jerusalem, 14 August 2002

The meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian teams has concluded. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres described the meeting as serious, helpful and constructive, and that all the issues on the agenda were discussed.

In the discussion, Minister Peres made it clear that Israel had not proposed "Gaza First" for territorial reasons, but only for functional reasons. In Gaza, the Palestinian security forces have not been weakened, and they can carry out their duties.

Foreign Minister Peres stated that Israel is ready for practical discussions on any location where the Palestinians prove through their actions that they can take responsibility for security. It was also determined that an additional meeting will take place this week, in an attempt to increase the number of work permits in the Karni and Erez industrial zones. During the meeting, it was communicated that an additional 70 million shekels will be transferred to the Palestinians, at the beginning of the week.

Agreement was reached on coordination of the international assistance in the territories, and the easing of restrictions in the humanitarian realm.

Foreign Minister Peres also stated in the meeting that Israel totally rejects the distinctions made between terrorist attacks within the Green Line and those beyond the Green Line. The Foreign Minister added that a situation of this kind will compel Israel to direct all its attention to the territories, and to the protection of its citizens there, and the Palestinians will achieve the opposite of what they seek. This distinction is also unacceptable to the United States.