(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The Disengagement Plan Steering Committee met this evening (Sunday), 18 July 2004, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. National Security Council Chairman Giora Eiland chaired the meeting, which also included Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Ilan Cohen, Finance Ministry Director-General Yosef Becher, Justice Ministry Director-General Aharon Abramovitz, Interior Ministry Director-General Gideon Bar-Lev, Industry, Trade and Employment Ministry Director-General Ra’anan Danur and various senior officials from the Foreign, Housing and Construction, Agriculture and Defense Ministries, as well as senior IDF, Israel Police and National Security Council representatives.

National Security Council Chairman Eiland presented the progress in planning ahead of the opening of negotiations with international community (as represented by the World Bank).  The negotiations will include economic-humanitarian issues related to the disengagement plan.  The forum was also updated on the status of contacts with Egypt on the issue.

Justice Ministry Director-General Abramovitz reviewed the activities of the Evacuation and Compensation Committee that he chairs and which is formulating a model for compensating private homeowners and business owners in the Gaza Strip (including the Erez Industrial Zone).

Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Cohen presented the status regarding the establishment of an authority – under the aegis of the Prime Minister’s Office – that will implement the plan.  The establishment and staffing of the authority is expected to begin this week.

National Security Council Chairman Eiland and attorney Gideon Vitkin presented the status of planning of alternative settlement solutions for the residents who will be evacuated from Gaza and Northern Samaria, mainly in the Western Negev and the Gilboa area.  The Jewish Agency has announced that it is interested in implementing this project.

The need to quickly formulate budgetary estimates – both regarding military-security  and civilian aspects, and including compensation expenditures – in order to integrate the disengagement budget into next month’s planned discussions on the 2005 State budget was discussed.