18 April 1996
I believe that this is a very difficult day for all of us.
We regret the loss of life of innocent people who perished in these hostile activities and who were unconnected to those fanatic terrorists. As indicated by the spokesman of the UN, the tragedy that occurred today was caused because the Hizbullah launched katyusha rockets at Israel from locations a short distance away from the UN position where innocent civilians had taken shelter.
We know that the Hizbullah has been cynically using civilians as a shield. Today the head of the Hizbullah’s political office admitted it himself. Now they are doing the same with UNIFIL units, not for the first time. Unfortunately, this is how this tragedy happened today.
We send our sincere condolences to the families, and our hopes and wishes for a quick recovery to the wounded civilians and UNIFIL soldiers.
We have not heard a word of condemnation from some of the members of the Security Council who spoke tonight, on those who initiated these hostilities. Three hundred katyusha rockets were launched in the last few days, targeting civilians in Israel. many were injured, thousands left their homes, many are still living in shelters.
Prime Minister Peres announced today that we accept President Clinton’s initiative to reach a cease-fire, to be implemented as soon as the other party agrees to implement it as well. We hope that the mission of the U.S. Secretary of State Christopher to our region will bare fruit immediately, and that a cease-fire will be achieved without delay.
This, we hope, will put an end to the situation which forced Israel to retaliate and to use its right of self-defense against those who attacked innocent civilians men, women and children in many villages and towns throughout northern Israel.
This is necessary to clear the way for the resumption of the peace process in the Middle East.
We believe that there is a coalition for peace which represents the majority of the people in the Middle East who share in the desire for peace.
We must join forces against militant fanatic terrorists everywhere in Lebanon as well as in Egypt. We must overcome these immediate hardships, clear the way and continue with the peace process.
Thank you, Mr. President.