"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom established a Foreign Ministry Task Force in order to coordinate the arrival, movements and work of the foreign observers arriving to assist in the Palestinian elections to be held on January 9, 2005.
The Palestinian Authority elections are very important in creating a leadership with which Israel hopes to make progress in the Road Map process. Israel hopes that the elected leadership will implement its commitments including the elimination of terrorism and the dismantling of terrorist infrastructures as well as the implementation of political reforms.
In helping to ensure democratic elections, Israel will make possible the presence and free movement of international and local election observers. Over 500 observers will be deployed in cooperation with the Palestinian Central Elections Committee throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The observers will be from the European Union (including 30 members of the European Parliament), the Council of Europe, the American National Democratic Institute (NDI) and various United Nations bodies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is issuing special identification cards to the international observers which will facilitate their movement into and out of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
It should be stressed that Israel is committed to the democratic principle of free elections and has no wish to be involved in any way in the electoral process. These elections are a Palestinian matter and must reflect the will of the Palestinian people.
The elections will be held along the lines agreed upon in the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (September 28, 1995) and will follow procedures already implemented in the 1996 Palestinian elections.
For this purpose, the IDF presence in Palestinian towns will be reduced to the minimum necessary in order to maintain Israeli security needs while taking into consideration the fact that terror organizations are still threatening Israeli citizens and may try to violently impede the electoral process. In close proximity to the date of the elections, IDF forces will leave all Palestinian cities. Checkpoints will be removed from specified positions in the area. Opening hours at the Allenby Bridge crossing will be expanded.
On election day, seam zone crossings will be open around the clock in order to enable voters to reach their place of polling. Freedom of movement and transit will be permitted for those involved in the election process, including candidates and campaigners.
Joint Israeli-Palestinian coordination offices will operate in order to provide immediate responses to problems that may arise.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Operations Center will be functioning on a 24 hours a day basis in order to deal with any queries or difficulties that the foreign observers and media may have, at telephone number +972-(0)2-5303155