(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert today (Wednesday, 26 April 2006) convened a discussion on the route of the security fence and the ‘Jerusalem envelope’. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra, Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, Israel Security Agency Director Yuval Diskin, Israel Police Inspector-General Moshe Karadi, Prisons Service Commissioner Yaacov Ganot, IDF Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, and other senior government officials and advisers attended.

Interim Prime Minister Olmert convened the discussion in order to monitor progress in these projects, especially following the deadly 17 April 2006 terrorist bombing in Tel Aviv, in which the suicide bomber infiltrated through a gap in the ‘Jerusalem envelope’.   Several senior officials briefed participants on gaps in the fence, route changes, and proposed solutions. Route changes in the following sectors were discussed: the Ariel panhandle, Gush Etzion, the ‘Jerusalem envelope’ and the southern Hebron Hills area. Olmert instructed that these be submitted for approval at the next cabinet meeting so that work may begin as soon as possible.

Regarding the ‘Jerusalem envelope’, he directed that all gaps be closed immediately by means of temporary fences until they are permanently closed by the security fence. He ordered the Israel Police to increase its forces and technological means around the gaps in the ‘Jerusalem envelope’. Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry Director-General Ra’anan Dinur, who is responsible for coordinating staff work on turning the barrier crossings over to civilian control, will submit recommendations on the issue soon.

The interim prime minister emphasized the importance of advancing and implementing these two projects and added that the Prime Minister’s Office will – on a daily basis – monitor the implementation of his instructions and the continued construction of the security fence and the ‘Jerusalem envelope’ in order to expedite construction, thus providing Israel’s citizens with maximum security.