President Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian leadership express their condemnation of all terrorist acts against civilians, whether they are Israelis or Palestinians and whether this terrorism is sponsored by a state, group or person.
This is based on the firm principle of rejecting the use of violence and terrorism against civilians or as a means of achieving political aims.
We have embraced this position since 1988. We expressed it on signing the Oslo accord at the White House and reiterated it several times, including in what we announced on 16 December 2001 and thereafter.
We however received no Israeli response, but rather a military escalation, a choking siege, a continued occupation of our people, camps, cities, and villages, and a comprehensive destruction of our infrastructure.
On this basis, we strongly condemn the violent operations that target Israeli civilians, especially the recent operation in Jerusalem.
We also strongly condemn the massacres the Israeli occupation forces have been committing for the past two weeks against the Palestinian civilians and refugees in the city of Nablus and Jenin Camp, against the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and in other Palestinian areas.
We urge the international community, the Security Council and Mr Colin Powell, who is on an international mission for peace, to become acquainted with these massacres and bloodbaths plaguing our people due to the Israeli occupation and also to the Israeli Government’s determination to squash our people’s quest for freedom and independence with military force, tanks, aircraft, missiles, shells and machine guns.
We, on behalf of the Palestinian people, reiterate anew our commitment to the option of a just peace between the two peoples and two countries, a peace that would bring security to the Israelis and independence and freedom in an independent state for the Palestinian people.
For it is only peace, and not occupation, military force, massacres and terrorist acts, particularly those committed against civilians, that can bring security to all. The latter can bring neither security nor peace to either the Israelis or the Palestinians.
We have to work all together, especially after the Security Council resolutions, the international resolutions, and the statements made by President Bush and his secretary of state, and the US-Russian-European-UN committee in Madrid, and in light of the tour made by Colin Powell and his presence among us to stop this war, secure an immediate Israeli withdrawal, start an immediate implementation of the Tenet understanding and Mitchell report, begin immediate negotiations on the basis of the Arab summits, the Saudi initiative adopted by the Arab summit in Beirut, and protect our Christian and Islamic holy places.
We emphasize the importance of the presence of an international peace force to ensure the implementation of the above mentioned resolutions and initiatives.