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6/19/03 - ROADBLOCK TO PEACE - 2003-06-19

In the wake of continued terrorist attacks that aim to destroy the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, President George W. Bush said, "the free world and those who love freedom and peace must deal harshly with Hamas and the killers." Mr. Bush said a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be achieved:

"My assessment is that there are people that want peace to go forward and there are people who don't. And for those of us who want peace to go forward, we must combine to prevent people like Hamas from sabotaging peace."

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made it clear why Hamas does not deserve anyone's support: “Hamas is a major obstacle to peace. Along with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, it has continued its destructive attacks on Israelis. We must condemn these killings in the strongest possible terms. They are only putting off the day of Palestinian independence. All people who love peace must condemn them as well."

Hamas murders Israelis, Palestinians, and citizens of other nations, including the United States. And it deliberately puts Palestinians at risk by hiding armed terrorists among civilians. Hamas and other terrorist groups have for too long operated with near-impunity within Palestinian territory. It is time to deny them sanctuary, says U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher:

"[President Bush] has been clear that the Palestinian Authority needs to set up a security force that can take control of the area, that can defeat the terrorists -- those who want to deny the establishment of a Palestinian state."

As the Palestinian authority meets those obligations, the U.S. has called on Israel to continue dismantling outposts, to act in a way that supports Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and his new government, and to respect the life and dignity of the Palestinian people.

Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists seek to destroy Israel and to murder the hopes of Palestinians for a better future. The prospect of a democratic Palestine living in peace with Israel is the real target of their terrorism.