For the first time since 1998, the IDF Civil Administration hosted a one-day symposium with its Palestinian counterparts, bringing together all of the officials that coordinate civilian and defense issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The meeting took place at Civil Administration Headquarters in Beit El and was hosted by administration chief Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai as well as Hassin a-Sheikh, the PA official responsible for coordination with Israel. Israeli and Palestinian officials have been meeting regularly since July 2006, but the gathering on Monday was the first time since 1998 that all of the officials who are involved in the talks - both Israeli and Palestinian - sat down together. Civil Administration officers presented their Palestinian counterparts with the results of their coordination throughout 2007. In comparison to 330,000 permits issued to Palestinians to enter Israel for work in 2006, 390,000 were issued in 2007. The IDF officers also pointed to a 40 percent increase in the number of permits issued to Palestinians who were allowed to travel to Israel for medical treatment. The sides discussed the current political situation in the West Bank as well as ways to increase foreign investments in the Palestinian territories and improve coordination on health-related issues. They also discussed plans to establish two new industrial zones in the West Bank that are slated to create 20,000 new jobs for Palestinians. "This was an important and vital meeting for both sides due to the increasing levels of cooperation in recent months," Mordechai said. "This symposium will, in the long run, lead to an increase in civilian coordination and in the assistance offered to the Palestinian population that is not involved in terrorism."