Jerusalem, 26 May 2001

PM Sharon: Net assessment of the last three days
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Following the publication of the Mitchell report, which called for an immediate, complete and unconditional halt to the violence, Israel declared a unilateral cease-fire (except in cases where life was in danger).

The Palestinians, in contravention of both the Mitchell report and Prime Minister Sharon’s call for a cease-fire, are continuing to carry out acts of terrorism and violence with greater intensity.

At the same time, the Israeli Government continues to implement its policy of easing restrictions on the Palestinian population. Furthermore, Israeli restraint is intended to provide Chairman Arafat with another oportunity to immediately halt terrorism and violence, as called for by the Mitchell Commission report.

The following is a list of the events of the past three days:

  1. 66 people were wounded in Friday’s (May 25th) car-bomb attack in Hadera
  2. A car-bomb attack on Friday May 25th in Netzarim in which no one was wounded.
  3. The murder of an Israeli near Tulkarm.
  4. One person dead and one wounded in a shooting attack near Ariel.
  5. An 86-year-old man was shot and wounded in Gilo.
  6. Two soldiers were wounded when their vehicle was fired on north of Jericho.
  7. Continued mortar fire at Gush Katif.

Despite these acts of terror and the security risks involved, in the past three days Israel has opened another crossing point from Gaza to Israel, thus allowing several thousand additional Palestinian workers to work in Israel.

The international community must make it unequivocally clear to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority that they are responsible for the escalation and that they, and they alone, bear responsibility for the resulting deterioration – in contravention of all agreements which they have signed and in violation of the principles of the Mitchell report.

Israel continues to show restraint, but is nearing the limits of its patience since our utmost commitment is to protect the lives of our citizens. Therefore, we expect the international community to do everything necessary in order to persuade Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to lay down their weapons.