(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Director-General Ilan Cohen this evening (Wednesday), 15 June 2005, convened a meeting of the Directors-General Forum on the Implementation of the Disengagement Plan.

Senior Justice Ministry official Osnat Mendel briefed the Committee on the recent High Court of Justice decision on the legality of the Disengagement Plan and the compensation being offered in its framework. The High Court determined that the Disengagement Plan is legal and that the compensation that has been set in its context is both fair and appropriate. The judges even saw fit to commend the Government’s preparatory work on the issue. The two substantial changes in the High Court decision are: The awarding of compensation to persons under 21 and the addition of approximately one year when calculating the amount of compensation (instead of 6 June 2004 being the determining day, the High Court set the date of the actual beginning of the implementation of the Disengagement Plan as the determining day). Ms. Mendel said that the High Court decision does not require legislative amendments.

Disengagement Authority representative Ami Hamtzani announced that eligibility committee professionals will soon contact the families that have already signed agreements to receive compensation and will see to it that the conditions of the compensation that will be given are in keeping with the aforementioned High Court of Justice decision. Hamtzani said, “The eligibility committee has been instructed to amend the amount of compensation that will be given to each family.”

Construction and Housing Ministry Director-General Shmuel Abuav reported that the list of available rental apartments in the preferred areas is growing daily. He said, “Hundreds of apartment owners have contacted the Construction and Housing Ministry and offered apartments for rent. Ministry personnel are out in the field checking the quality of the apartments and only afterwards do they add them to the list, which includes hundreds of alternative housing solutions.”

Education Ministry Southern District Director Amira Haim said that with the publication of the possible school alternatives for students studying in the Gaza Strip, many parents have contacted the Education Ministry in order to arrange places for their children at schools in the region. She said that a meeting on the issue would be held soon between Education Ministry personnel and settlers’ representatives. Haim informed the directors-general that the team of psychologists active at educational institutions in the Gaza Strip was expanded today: “We decided to increase the professional staff that is dealing with the children even now, before the summer vacation.”

PMO Director-General Cohen concluded by saying that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would convene a meeting of the Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of the Disengagement Plan next week and that the directors-general would have to report on progress in the field.