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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: United States of America
20 May 2004



Israeli Actions Have Worsened Gaza Humanitarian Situation

Do not serve purposes of peace and security, White House says

The Bush administration says it deeply regrets the loss of Palestinian life in Gaza and does not see Israel's recent military operations there as serving "the purposes of peace and security."

According to a May 19 statement by the White House press secretary, the Israeli operations "have worsened the humanitarian situation and resulted in confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians, and have not, we believe, enhanced Israel's security."

Noting that the Israeli government expressed regret for what it termed a "tragic event," the statement said the operations "serve as a grim reminder of the wisdom of Israel disengaging from Gaza" and of the need for having reformed Palestinian security forces take action to stop weapons smuggling and halt terrorism, as called for under the road map.

The press secretary's statement urged Israel to "exercise maximum restraint now" and said all parties, including the Palestinians and neighboring Egyptians, "should find a reason to calm the situation."

Following is the text of the statement:

(begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 19,2004

STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY

We deeply regret the loss of life of innocent Palestinian civilians today in Gaza.

While we believe that Israel has the right to act to defend itself and its citizens, we do not see that its operations in Gaza in the last few days serve the purposes of peace and security. They have worsened the humanitarian situation and resulted in confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians, and have not, we believe, enhanced Israel's security.

We note that the Government of Israel has expressed its "deep regret" for what it called a "tragic event." These events in fact serve as a grim reminder of the wisdom of Israel disengaging from Gaza, and having its security presence replaced by reformed Palestinian security forces that will -- and must -- themselves act to stop smuggling and halt terrorism. The roadmap calls upon the Palestinian Authority to "declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere" and to begin "sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and organizations."

We have urged the Israeli Government to exercise maximum restraint now. All parties should find a reason to calm the situation.

We intend to consult immediately with the relevant parties, which include Israel, the Palestinians, and the Government of Egypt, about effective ways to move forward against the smuggling of arms into Gaza and terrorist activities there, so as to create the best possible conditions on the ground leading toward the disengagement that we continue to favor.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)


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