(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today (Monday), 4 April 2005, held a discussion on the issue of agriculture and resettlement ahead of the implementation of the Disengagement Plan. Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister Matan Vilna’i, Disengagement Authority Director Yonatan Basi and the directors-general of various ministries attended the meeting.

Disengagement Authority Director Basi and Interior Ministry Director-General Shlomo Abuav presented alternative residence plans for the evacuees. Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry Director-General Yossi Yishai presented an action plan that would enable farmers who are evacuated from the Gaza Strip to continue working by moving their farms to other areas.

Prime Minister Sharon said that he intends to tour the area this week in order to examine progress on the ground. He suggested that while government frameworks may be used to working in a certain manner, this was a special situation that the bureaucracy was unprepared for and added that, therefore, everyone must make a special effort to move the issue forward.

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The Disengagement Authority Eligibility Committee held its first meeting last night (Monday),  4 April 2005, during which the eligibility of the first family to receive compensation was approved; it will receive the funds by the end of the week.

Committee members formulated working procedures and decided to hold another meeting later this week. Committee members are prepared to process hundreds of requests, part of which are in the hands of attorneys and will be submitted presently to the Disengagement Authority.