(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
The Cabinet released the following statement late Wednesday evening, October 17, 2001, following the assassination of Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze’evy early yesterday morning:
1. The Government and people of Israel are shocked and outraged by the cold-blooded assassination of Minister Rechavam Ze’evy. Tonight, we mourn together with his family.
The murder of a member of the Israeli Cabinet and Knesset crosses all red lines. No democracy can tolerate such an attack on its elected officials. The responsibility lies squarely with Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.
2. The writing was on the wall.
The Popular Front announced that it was planning terrorist attacks – but Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority did nothing.
Israel included Popular Front leaders on the list of terrorist fugitives submitted to Arafat – but, again, he did nothing.
Israel began, this week, to withdraw its forces and ease restrictions – serving only to open the door for terrorists to slip through.
In the interest of creating calm and advancing the cause of peace, and at the urging of our friends in the international community, we held meetings with Chairman Arafat, roadblocks were removed, and Israeli forces withdrew from Hebron.
But the Palestinians only reciprocated with violence and murder. Many promises were made, but only little steps were taken to prevent terror.
3. The time for words has ended, and the time for deeds has come.
Israel demands the extradition of those responsible for today’s assassination, and expects this to be carried out immediately.
We also demand that the terrorist organizations operating in the Palestinian areas be disarmed and dismantled. Arafat must not shelter them any longer.
Failure to meet these demands, which are grounded in signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, will leave us with no choice but to view the Palestinian Authority as an entity supporting and sponsoring terror, and to act accordingly.
Israel, meanwhile, will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its citizens
4. There can be no compromise with terror. It must be eradicated, without distinction between its perpetrators and those who harbor them.
The terrorists and their sponsors, including Arafat, must be told, unequivocally, that their crimes will not be tolerated by the civilized world.
We demand that Arafat stop his double-talk, and take serious and concrete action against the terrorist factions operating freely in the Palestinian Authority.
5. Israel shares the commitment of the international community to peace and stability. And we want peace with the Palestinian people. But peace and stability will not be achieved without decisive action from Arafat to halt terror.
||Background on the PFLP|