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This afternoon, at approximately 6.15 p.m. (local time), a Palestinian terrorist opened fire with an automatic rifle on several Israelis waiting at a bus stop, injuring 46 people, six of them critically. The shooting occurred on Jaffa Road, the main street in downtown Jerusalem, at an hour when the area was filled with pedestrians. This is precisely the same location where two suicide bombers attacked a crowd of teenagers on 1 December 2001 and is just down the street from the Sbarro pizza shop that was attacked on 9 August 2001. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a wing of Chairman Yasser Arafat’s own Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for today’s attack.
Today’s shooting in Jerusalem comes after a weekend that witnessed a sharp escalation of shooting and bomb attacks on Israeli targets, including the attempted abduction by Palestinian terrorists of three Israelis in the city of Tulkarm. On 17 January, a Palestinian gunman opened fire during a bat mitzvah celebration in the city of Hadera, killing six civilians and wounding more than 30 others. The day before, Palestinian terrorists killed Shkadeh Dadis, a 30-year-old Israeli man, firing many rounds from an M-16 rifle at his vehicle before escaping into the village of Qabatiyeh.
These attacks are the latest incidents in the continuing campaign of Palestinian terrorism directed specifically at Israeli civilians. Previous attacks have been detailed in my letters dated 18 January 2002 (A/56/781-S/2002/86), 16 January 2002 (A/56/774-S/2002/73), 11 January 2002 (A/56/771-S/2002/47), 4 January 2002 (A/56/766-S/2002/25), 13 December 2001 (A/56/706-S/2001/1198), dated 4 December 2001 (A/56/678-S/2001/1150), 30 November 2001 (A/56/670-S/2001/1141), 28 November 2001 (A/56/668-S/2001/1133), 27 November 2001 (A/56/663-S/2001/1121), 12 November 2001 (A/56/617-S/2001/1071), 5 November 2001 (A/56/604-S/2001/1048), 24 October 2001 (A/54/406-S/2001/1011), 19 October 2001 (A/56/492-S/2001/990), 17 October 2001 (A/56/483-S/2001/975), 8 October 2001 (A/56/450-S/2001/948), 5 October 2001 (A/56/444-S/2001/943), 3 October 2001 (A/56/438-S/2001/938), 24 September 2001 (A/56/406-S/2001/907), 20 September 2001 (A/56/386-S/2001/892), 17 September 2001 (A/56/367-S/2001/875), 7 September 2001 (A/56/346-S/2001/858), 4 September 2001 (A/56/331-S/2001/840), 30 August 2001 (A/56/325-S/2001/834), 27 August 2001 (A/56/324-S/2001/825), 13 August 2001 (A/56/294-S/2001/787), 9 August 2001 (A/56/272-S/2001/768), 27 July 2001 (A/56/225-S/2001/743), 26 July 2001 (A/56/223-S/2001/737), 17 July 2001 (A/56/201-S/2001/706), 13 July 2001 (A/56/184-S/2001/696), 3 July 2001 (A/56/138-S/2001/662), 21 June 2001 (A/56/119-S/2001/619), 19 June 2001 (A/56/98-S/2001/611), 18 June 2001 (A/56/97-S/2001/604), 13 June 2001 (A/56/92-S/2001/585), 11 June 2001 (A/56/91-S/2001/580), 4 June 2001 (A/56/85-S/2001/555), 30 May 2001 (A/56/81-S/2001/540), 25 May 2001 (A/56/80-S/2001/524), 18 May 2001 (A/56/78-S/2001/506), 11 May 2001 (A/56/72-S/2001/473), 9 May 2001 (A/56/69-S/2001/459), 1 May 2001 (A/55/924-S/2001/435), 23 April 2001 (A/55/910-S/2001/396), 16 April 2001 (A/55/901-S/2001/364), 28 March 2001 (A/55/863-S/2001/291), 27 March 2001 (A/55/860-S/2001/280), 26 March 2001 (A/55/858-S/2001/278), 19 March 2001 (A/55/842-S/2001/244), 5 March 2001 (A/55/821-S/2001/193), 2 March 2001 (A/55/819-S/2001/187), 14 February 2001 (A/55/787-S/2001/137), 13 February 2001 (A/55/781-S/2001/132), 2 February 2001 (A/55/762-S/2001/103), 25 January 2001 (A/55/748-S/2001/81), 23 January 2001 (A/55/742-S/2001/71), 28 December 2000 (A/55/719-S/2000/1252), 22 November 2000 (A/55/641-S/2000/1114), 20 November 2000 (A/55/634-S/2000/1108) and 2 November 2000 (A/55/540-S/2000/1065).
Israel holds Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority responsible for these attacks in light of their continuing support for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and the increasingly active role of factions under the direct authority of Chairman Arafat in perpetrating terrorist attacks. The Palestinian leadership persists in its attempts to deceive the international community and obscure its central role in encouraging and carrying out attacks against civilians by continuing to call for an end to violence and condemning the very attacks that it is itself responsible for perpetrating.
Efforts to engage in a viable political process aimed at achieving a just and lasting resolution to the conflict in our region will be impossible so long as terrorism is considered a legitimate tool for the advancement of Palestinian political objectives. The Palestinian leadership continues to do everything in its power to avoid taking the necessary actions to uproot the terrorist infrastructure that it has permitted to flourish in the territory under its control. At a time when the international community is uniting to combat the scourge of terrorism, it is imperative that constant and unrelenting pressure be exerted on the Palestinian leadership to ensure that it fulfils its international obligations to prevent its territory from being used as a staging ground for attacks against civilians.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter circulated as an official document of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 166, and of the Security Council.