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Bolton Statement on Situation in the Middle East

Statement on the Situation in the Middle East

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks in the Security Council
New York City
November 9, 2006

USUN PRESS RELEASE #323

Mr. President, despite all of the emotion in the air, we must have an honest and even-handed discussion of recent events in Gaza.

In Gaza and adjacent areas of Israel, the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government has continued to play a role in perpetuating instability and violence.

There is no question that Israel has a right to defend itself and the lives of its citizens.

On November 7, Israeli forces withdrew from much of Gaza and almost immediately Palestinian terrorists resumed firing rockets into Israel targeted at civilians.

We deeply regret the injuries and loss of life in Gaza on November 8 in and around Beit Hanun.

We have seen the Israeli government's apology and understand an investigation has begun. We hope it will be completed quickly and that appropriate steps will be taken to avoid a repetition of this tragic incident. We call on all parties to act with restraint in order to avoid any harm to innocent civilians.

We again call for the immediate and unconditional release of Corporal Shalit as well as the two IDF soldiers kidnapped on July 12 by Hezbollah during its terrorist attacks across the Blue Line, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

It is the responsibility of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government to prevent terror and take the necessary steps to stop attacks from within Gaza. Progress towards peace needs a Palestinian government that disavows terror and violence. We call on Hamas to accept the Quartet principles: renunciation of terror, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements.

Statements by Hamas, leadership that the truce with Israel is over and armed struggle can resume are alarming, and calls by the military wing of Hamas to Muslims worldwide to strike American targets and interests should be condemned by the international community.

More terror, whether directed at Israel or the United States or the European Union Office in Gaza City, is not the solution, nor will it enable the Palestinian people to achieve their aspirations. In fact, the opposite is the case.

It is the responsibility of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government to prevent terror and take the necessary steps to stop attacks and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.

The Roadmap and the principles contained therein remain the only agreed international basis upon which to move forward towards the two-state goal.

The Quartet has welcomed efforts by Palestinian Authority President Abbas to form a Government explicitly committed to Quartet principles, and the U.S. stands ready to renew engagement and assistance to a Palestinian Authority committed to peace and the Quartet Principles.

We support diplomatic efforts to engage responsible leaders, help the Palestinians strengthen and reform their security sector, and support Israel and Palestinian leaders in their efforts to come together to resolve their differences.

The United States is acutely aware of the economic and humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people. We continue to work with the Israeli Government and Palestinian Authority President Abbas to help meet critical humanitarian needs in the West Bank and Gaza, where humanitarian conditions have deteriorated as a result of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government's refusal to govern responsibly.

Progress requires a commitment to peace from both sides of the conflict. Since assuming control of the Palestinian Authority Government last winter, Hamas has failed utterly in this regard. We urge the Palestinian Authority government to renounce terror, accept the Quartet principles, and become a legitimate partner for peace.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Released on November 9, 2006

ENDS


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