(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

This morning, June 19, 2005, following security assessments, the Erez Crossing was fully reopened to entry and exit from the Gaza Strip.

In addition, in light of the ongoing efforts to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population and in coordination with the decision of the political echelon, further easements have been introduced:

1. An additional 1,600 merchants from the West Bank are permitted to enter and to work in Israel. 11,000 merchants in total can enter and work in Israel from the West Bank.

2. An additional 1,200 merchants from the Gaza Strip are permitted to enter and to work in Israel. 2,500 merchants in total can enter and work in Israel from the Gaza Strip.

In addition, in light of ongoing efforts to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population and following security assessments, the IDF has removed four roadblocks in the Ramallah region:

On Friday, June 17, 2005, the roadblock near the village of Malek, northeast of Ramallah, was removed to enable free passage to the northern Samaria region and to Jericho. A roadblock near the village of Dir-Nizam, northwest of Ramallah, was removed to enable free passage to Qalqilya. A gate near the village of Um-Zapa, northwest of Ramallah, was opened to allow passage into Ramallah. This afternoon, June 19, a roadblock near the village of Sinjil, northeast of Ramallah, was removed to enable direct passage from the village into Ramallah.

Approximately 30 roadblocks have been removed throughout the West Bank since the beginning of March 2005.

The Head of the Ramallah District Coordination Office, Lieutenant Colonel Hussam, said today: "The IDF has this week removed four roadblocks in the Ramallah region, amongst them the roadblock near the village of Sinjil. The removal of the Sinjil roadblock is significant because it will connect the residents of Sinjil to Route 60, which is the main road leading to Ramallah. The removal of the roadblock near the village of Malek will enable the residents of the village free access to their lands near the village of Ein-Sinia, north of Ramallah."