(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this evening (Thursday), 1 September 2005, sent a letter to US President George W. Bush in which he expressed condolences on behalf of the Government and people of Israel over the disaster that struck the American people.

Prime Minister Sharon also offered US President Bush comprehensive and urgent medical assistance following the natural disaster.

Prime Minister Sharon’s letter, including the offer of comprehensive medical assistance, was sent after Health Minister Danny Naveh and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz checked the formats for extending medical assistance, including the dispatch of medical teams numbering hundreds of people, considerable medical equipment, medicines and additional necessary equipment.

* * *

Following are Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, 4 September 2005:

“At the start of the meeting, I would like to send our condolences to the American people and to people in the southern US who were struck by such a severe disaster. It seems to me that the US has been caught up in one of its worst disasters ever. Last week I sent a letter to US President George Bush in which I expressed my condolences and those of the Israeli people over the disaster. I want to thank Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Health Minister Danny Naveh whom we turned to in order to verify what aid for the US victims could be readied within a short time. Within a few hours I received answers and thus I was able to pass on the estimates regarding the assistance that Israel could render. A Defense Ministry and Health Ministry aid delegation will leave this week in order to coordinate what may be done there.

I want to point out that the US has stood by us during difficult times and it is our duty to assist it in the areas in which we can help. I want to reiterate my condolences and my sharing in the grief there. We will do everything in our power to render assistance in the difficult situation in which so many US citizens find themselves."