(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
The number of permits granted to Palestinian civilians for humanitarian purposes has increased by nearly 100%, says the first quarterly report for 2005 of the Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA).

More than 10,000 permits have been issued in the first quarter of 2005, as compared to 5,000 in the same period last year. The increase was primarily in the number of permits granted to patients and caregivers, as well as visitors coming to Israeli hospitals and penitentiaries.

An increase of 40% in humanitarian traffic has been registered at the Erez Crossing, which was recently renovated with investment of millions of NIS, and reached 4500 entrants by the end of the quarter. There was also a two fold increase in the incoming traffic coordinated by international organizations and CLA officers. CLA officers have said that this increase is due to the relatively peaceful period, which allows freedom of movement. This amounts to hundreds of coordinated contacts for the purpose infrastructure improvement and humanitarian aid to Palestinian families, among others.

"Maintaining peace in the region is a prerequisite for continued ongoing humanitarian activity and economical growth," said Director of the CLA, Col. Yoav Mordechai.