(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today (Tuesday), 17 May 2005, toured the western Negev area and visited sites designated for receiving residents from the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Sharon, who was accompanied by Housing and Construction Minister Yitzhak Herzog, examined the pace at which progress is being made in construction and instructed both relevant ministry representatives and local council leaders to accelerate the work so as to complete it by August, when the residents are due to move in.

Prime Minister Sharon visited (inter alia):

* Moshav Yevul, where 100 temporary residential units will be built and where vacant plots are already available for future permanent units;
* Moshav Yated, where 100 temporary residential units will be built and vacant plots are already available for future permanent units;
* Kibbutz Mefalsim, where 32 permanent residential units will be built;
* Kibbutz Karmiah, where 54 permanent residential units will be built;
* Moshav Mivaki’im, where 26 permanent residential units and 22 temporary units have been built.
* Moshav Nitzan, where 450 permanent residential units and 450 temporary units will be built in the eastern part of the community.

Prime Minister Sharon said that we must work immediately and quickly.  He added that he would continue to personally monitor progress on the ground.