While Israel announced last week that it had renewed peace negotiations with Syria, The Jerusalem Post learned over the weekend that the defense establishment has decided to begin redistributing gas masks to the public starting January, 2009. The decision of when to begin the distribution follows a cabinet decision from last month to redistribute the gas masks to the public. In 2006, the Defense Ministry hired a civilian company to collect the gas masks from peoples' homes. According to initial plans being drawn up in the Defense Ministry, the gas masks will not be redistributed in the same fashion; instead, "distribution centers" will be set up in public places - like shopping malls - and it will be up to the public to come and collect their masks. Defense officials said that the decision to distribute the gas masks was not connected to intelligence information regarding the possibility of an imminent war. Government sources even said that the decision was part of the repercussions of the Winograd Report and was not connected to a potential conflict with Syria or Iran. The distribution process will take time since the masks that have been collected from the public are still being refurbished. The IDF's Homefront Command and Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i worked together on formulating a multi-year plan that will regulate the production and distribution as well as calculate the necessary budget for the masks.