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George H.W. Bush Administration: Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Killing of Palestinian Laborers in the Gaza Strip

(May 22, 1990)

The President wishes to extend his sympathies to the families of the Palestinian workers who lost their lives in the tragic killings in Israel on Sunday, May 20. The President is also deeply troubled by the violent aftermath to these deaths. Besides expressing condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives amidst the subsequent violence, the President calls upon the Israeli security forces, as well as others, to act with maximum restraint. Additional bloodshed and loss of life will only compound the tragedy.

It is not enough, however, to deplore what has happened and to call for restraint. It is essential to address the political issues that lie at the core of the region's strife. Based on experience, we believe that violence in the Middle East will continue and possibly grow so long as there is an absence of a promising peace process that nourishes hope among Israelis and Palestinians alike.

The United States remains committed to promoting such a political process. We believe that the initiative of the Government of Israel, which the United States has been trying to implement, offers the best path to a negotiating process that would protect Israel's security, further the legitimate political rights of Palestinians, and bring about a broader reconciliation between the State of Israel and its Arab neighbors. We look forward to the quick emergence of an Israeli government that is capable of making decisions on issues of peace and is committed, just as we are, to moving ahead on the peace process.

Sources: Public Papers of the President