(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this evening (Monday), 15 August 2005, convened a meeting of the Ministerial Disengagement Committee.

Committee members approved increasing the number of hotel rooms designated to absorb settlers from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria from approximately 1,000 rooms to approximately 2,000 rooms. At the behest of Prime Minister Sharon, it was also decided to offer settlers lodging at full board, with the number of rooms allocated to each family being in proportion to the size of the family.

Prime Minister Sharon instructed the relevant officials to promote – as much as possible – the arrival of new residents to the south of the country in the context of Disengagement Plan. The Prime Minister said that several groups of settlers have expressed interest in moving their residences to the Negev and added that the Government would make every effort to put such plans into practice.

Committee members made a series of decisions regarding the construction of temporary and permanent housing for Gaza Strip and northern Samaria settlers. Approximately 130 additional deluxe 90-square meter mobile homes will be ordered for families that have already reached agreement with the Government; public institutions and areas will be built in communities that are designated to absorb settlers (Yad Binyamin, Mavki’im, Karmiya, Or Haner and Mefalsim); and infrastructure planning will proceed regarding the construction of permanent housing in Bustan Hagalil, Magen Shaul and Ein Zurim.

Committee members approved assistance for bereaved families in moving the graves of their loved ones from the Gaza Strip to inside Israeli territory.

Prime Minister Sharon announced that the Committee would hold an additional discussion on Thursday, 18 August 2005.