(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke this afternoon (Sunday), 2 July 2006, with US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice, who telephoned in order to be updated on the situation in the Gaza Strip. She said that she was concerned by the deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and by the security situation.

Prime Minister Olmert told her that Israel is taking all necessary measures in order to bring about the quick release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit and will use all means at its disposal to this end. The Prime Minister noted that the Palestinians have not halted firing Kassam rockets at Israeli communities and at Israeli targets, which is causing great suffering to thousands of Israelis, and added that this situation cannot continue. Prime Minister Olmert emphasized that Israel will do its utmost to prevent Kassam rocket fire and will continue to foil terrorist actions aimed at Israeli citizens.

Prime Minister Olmert said that Israel’s actions are measured and added that the security forces have been instructed to avoid – as much as possible – harming the population that is not involved in terrorism. The Prime Minister said that there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and noted that today Israel allowed the entry 150 trucks laden with food and medical equipment, adding that Israel will do likewise in the coming days. He stressed that Israel will see to the supply of the population’s special needs in order to prevent any humanitarian deterioration.

Prime Minister Olmert expressed his deep appreciation for the efforts of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to bring about Cpl. Shalit’s release and said that the key to resolving the crisis is in Damascus since the directives and orders for terrorist actions originate there. He added that the Syrian leadership must dismantle the terrorist organization command centers located in its territory.