Jerusalem, 28 July 2002

Statement from PM Sharon’s Bureau
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today (Sunday), July 28, 2002, appointed Foreign Minister Shimon Peres as minister responsible for coordinating all activities to assist the civilian population in the Palestinian Authority territories; Minister Peres will ensure that the activities of all aid agencies is comprehensive, uninterrupted and as unimpaired as possible. In this task, he will be assisted by a professional team under his direction.

Within the framework of the steps being taken by Israel, Prime Minister Sharon today instructed the IDF and the other Israeli security services to work toward the facilitation of daily life for the civilian population not involved in terrorism. This will be manifested in ways such as the limiting of curfew hours; the partial lifting of roadblocks; the easing of conditions for entry into Israel by businessmen and merchants; the simplifying of inspection procedures for Palestinians employed in Israel; the expansion of fishing zones in the Gaza Strip; the improved passage of public transportation; the enabling of free passage – as much as possible – for international aid organizations, and permitting 12,000 Palestinians to work in Israel.

Prime Minister Sharon ordered that a portion of the tax funds being withheld by Israel be immediately transferred to the Palestinian Authority. These funds will be handed over to the personal supervision of the Palestinian Minister of Finance, who has committed to use them exclusively for the benefit of the Palestinian population not involved in terrorism.

Prime Minister Sharon reiterated that the State of Israel regrets the hardship of the Palestinian people, caused by its corrupt and irresponsible leadership. The Prime Minister emphasized that the State of Israel will search for every possible way – under existing security constraints – to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian population not involved in terrorism.