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Yesterday evening, Palestinian terrorists shot and killed 35-year-old Jerminos Tsimpouktsakis, a Greek Orthodox monk, as he traveled near the Jerusalem neighbourhood of French Hill. An Israeli emergency medical crew, which came to the rescue of Tsimpouktsakis, declared him dead at the scene.
This morning, a 21-year-old Israeli woman, Shlomit Binyamin, was wounded by Palestinian gunmen in a shooting attack near the entrance to the community of Ofra. Binyamin sustained moderate to serious wounds to the neck and leg and was transferred to a hospital in Jerusalem for treatment.
Also today, an Israeli man working on the Trans-Israel Highway was wounded when Palestinian gunmen from the village of Irta opened fire on him. The man sustained light leg wounds and was evacuated for medical treatment to a hospital in Kfar Saba.
These attacks are merely the latest atrocities committed by Palestinians in a more than eight-month campaign of terrorism, detailed in my letters dated 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).
Furthermore, these reprehensible acts of terrorism come more than two weeks after Israel announced that it would not initiate any military actions against Palestinian targets, barely a week after Palestinian Authority Chairman Yassir Arafat again committed himself to fighting violence and terrorism, and amidst intensive negotiations aimed at reaching a ceasefire.
Despite the progress made in recent days in the talks facilitated by the Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, Israel reiterates that words are only meaningful if they are followed by concerted and discernible actions on the ground. At present, Palestinian incitement continues unabated, and convicted terrorist prisoners continue to walk the streets, free to plan and carry out terrorist attacks with no effort expended to stop them.
Just this past Friday, 8 June 2001, one week after the Tel-Aviv suicide bombing that killed 20 Israelis, a sermon by Sheik Ibrahim Madhi was broadcast on official Palestinian Authority television in which he proclaimed the following: “Blessings to whoever waged Jihad for the sake of Allah; blessings to whoever raided for the sake of Allah; blessings to whoever put a belt of explosives on his body or on his sons’ and plunged into the midst of the Jews, crying ‘Allahu Akbar, praise to Allah’”.
It is for these reasons that Israel holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for these latest acts of terror, and calls upon it to abide by its signed commitment not only to renounce violence and terrorism but to actively restrain and discipline those Palestinian elements who continue to engage in such deplorable and unacceptable practices.
Israel further reiterates its call on the international community to take a clear and unequivocal stand against terrorism, regardless of declared motives, and to work to ensure that those who engage in or lend their support to terrorist activity will find no refuge among the community of nations.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of this letter circulated as an official document of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly, under item 179 of the preliminary list, and of the Security Council.