(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today (Tuesday), 10 May 2005, welcomes the National Planning and Building Council’s decision to prepare a national blueprint for the Nitzanim area if a sufficient number of applications are received from settlers.

Appended to the Council decision is an explicit directive from Interior Minister Ophir Pines-Paz that the planners not begin the planning of new communities in the Nitzanim area until the Government decides on the matter. A Government decision on the establishment of new communities depends on the number of settlers who declare that they choose the Nitzanim alternative.

The National Planning and Building Council’s decision was given in the framework of negotiations between the Government and settlers.

Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Ilan Cohen said, “The Government has done its part and the ball is now in the settlers’ court. The timetable is very short and any delay in receiving a commitment from settlers puts the implementation of the plan at risk. The preparations for the Nitzanim plan will wait until the necessary commitment is received.”