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Bill Clinton Administration: Statement on the Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem

(September 4, 1997)

The President. Today's bombing in Jerusalem is an outrageous and inhuman act. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and all the people of Israel.

It is clear that the perpetrators of this attack intended to kill both innocent people and the peace process itself. They must not be allowed to succeed. Everything possible must be done to stop them.

The peace process can only move forward in a secure environment. And the Palestinian Authority, through concrete actions on its own and continuing work with the Israeli authorities, must do all it can to create an environment that leaves no doubt that terror will not be tolerated.

This is the message that Secretary Albright will emphasize when she travels to the region next week. I know the overwhelming majority of Israelis and Palestinians yearn for an end to violence and for the start of lasting peace. If they are to see their hopes realized, we must see the strongest possible security cooperation. Only on that basis can the process proceed.

1996 Campaign Financing

Q. Mr. President, the Justice Department says it's investigating—reviewing, rather, whether campaign solicitations by Vice President Al Gore should warrant a preliminary investigation which could trigger the independent counsel law. Do you think that the Vice President's conduct should be investigated.

The President. I have nothing to add to what I've said before. I believe what he did was legal, and the Justice Department has to make its own determination, which I'm confident they will do, based on the law.

Middle East Peace Process

Q. Back on the bombing, sir——

The President. Yes?

Q.——what does this do to the peace process, do you believe?

The President. I would hope it would give it added urgency. It is obvious that when things are hanging in limbo, all sides become more vulnerable to the enemies of peace, and particularly the people of Israel become more vulnerable to the terrorists who desperately do not want to see this peace process proceed. They do not want a peaceful resolution of the differences between the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not want us to be able to go forward to see an ultimate resolution with the Syrians and the Lebanese. Hamas does not want that. Hamas and the other terrorists, they thrive on anger and anxiety and uncertainty and being able to inject their murderers into this situation.

So what I hope will happen is that we will see—we believe we've made some progress. Mr. Ross went out there—on the security cooperation, and I hope we'll see some more, and I hope we'll see that this peace process can get going again.

I think it's all the more important for Secretary Albright to go, and I've made it clear. And I tried to call Prime Minister Netanyahu. He was in the hospital with the victims and so he was unable to take my call, but I look forward to a discussion with him. I think it's important that she go on and go right out there, and we keep pushing this thing.

Thank you.

Sources: Public Papers of the President