On October 15th, Palestinian terrorists attacked an American diplomatic convoy in Gaza. The bombing killed three Americans and wounded a fourth. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher expressed U.S. outrage over the attack:
“The innocent Americans who died, John Branchizio, Mark Parson, and John Linde, Jr., were on a mission of peace as part of our embassy team going to interview Palestinians for Fulbright scholarships to study or teach in the United States. They were helping the Palestinian people. They were murdered by terrorists, the same terrorists who have killed so many others and who are killing the dreams of the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian police say they have made some arrests in connection with the Gaza attack. But as President George W. Bush said in written statement, “Palestinian authorities should have acted long ago to fight terror in all its forms. The failure to create effective Palestinian security forces dedicated to fighting terror continues to cost lives.”
President Bush said the Palestinian Authority should have “an empowered prime minister who controls all Palestinian security forces.” But essential reforms have been blocked by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. “The failure to undertake these reforms and dismantle the terrorist organizations,” said Mr. Bush, “constitutes the greatest obstacle to achieving the Palestinian people’s dream of statehood.”
The U.S. is committed to the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. But progress on this “road map” for peace, said State Department spokesman Boucher, will be possible only when serious action is taken against terrorism:
“There comes a point in this process, where to build a credible Palestinian state, to have a credible partner for peace, to have a credible government to deal with on the Palestinian side, they need to take action.”
The murderous attack on Americans who were dedicated to helping Palestinians, said President Bush, “is another example of how the terrorists are enemies of progress and opportunity for the Palestinian people."