Israeli forces killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Hamas was founded in 1987. Its goal is to destroy the state of Israel and replace it with a fundamentalist Islamic state. Hamas receives support from Iran and Syria.
President George W. Bush commented on the killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin:
“As far as the Middle East, it’s a troubled region, and the attacks were troubling. There needs to be a focused, concerted effort by all parties to fight terror. Any country has the right to defend itself from terror. Israel has the right to defend herself from terror. And as she does so, I hope she keeps consequences in mind as to how to make sure we stay on the path to peace.”
As John Negroponte, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, pointed out, “events must be considered in their context.” Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, says Ambassador Negroponte, “was the leader of a terrorist organization, one which has proudly taken credit for indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including most recently an attack [on March 14th] in the Port of Ashdod, which left ten Israelis dead. [Yassin] preached hatred, and glorified suicide bombings of buses, restaurants, and cafes. Yassin was opposed to the existence of the state of Israel, and actively sought to undermine a two-state solution in the Middle East.”
Despite recent setbacks, says President Bush, the U.S. remains committed to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians:
“A two-state solution for the good of Israel, a two-state solution for the good of the Palestinian people.”
If circumstances allow it, says President Bush, the U.S. “will be sending a team back out to the Middle East. . .to see if we can’t keep the process alive, the process toward peace.”