Skip to comments.Bush Blames Palestinian Authorities (for Gaza bombing of American diplomatic convoy)
Posted on 10/15/2003 10:30:54 AM PDT by Stultis
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - President Bush blamed Palestinian authorities Wednesday for the deaths of Americans in an attack in Gaza, saying their failure to create terrorist-fighting security forces "continues to cost lives."
"Palestinian authorities should have acted long ago to fight terror in all its forms," the president said in a written statement as he flew to California for an overnight visit en route to Asia.
Bush said he condemned the attack in the strongest terms and that the United States was working with authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Putting the blame squarely on the Palestinian leadership, Bush said, "The failure to create effective Palestinian security forces dedicated to fighting terror continues to cost lives. There must be an empowered prime minister who contols all Palestinian forces - reforms that continue to be blocked by Yasser Arafat."
"The failure to undertake these reforms and dismantle the terrorist organizations constitutes the greatest obstacle to achieving the Palestinian people's dream of statehood," Bush said.
He said the Americans who were attacked were in Gaza to help build a better future for Palestinians.
"The U.S. embassy officials traveling in Gaza were there to interview young Palestinian candidates seeking Fulbright scholarships to study in the United States," Bush said. "This is another example of how the terrorists are enemies of progress and opportunity for the Palestinian people."
Bush was notified of the attack in a telephone call by National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice before he left the White House.
An FBI legal attache is investigating the bombing, which killed three Americans. It was the first attack on a U.S. target in three years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting.
The FBI's legal attache from Tel Aviv went to the bombing site and is working with Palestinian and Israeli authorities, said FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell in Washington.
The FBI has not yet determined yet whether more agents will be sent, but in the past it has taken a major role in overseas violence in which Americans are killed.
The bomb exploded under a U.S. diplomatic convoy, ripping apart an armored van in an unprecedented attack on an official U.S. target. There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing.
While targeting Israeli soldiers and civilians for years, groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad repeatedly insist they do not target U.S. officials - apparently to avoid a harsh retribution from the Americans and the anger of Palestinian officials trying to work with Washington.
The bombing, which also wounded a fourth American, will likely intensify U.S. pressure on the Palestinian Authority to take action against militant groups. Arafat, whom Bush has tried to sideline in favor of other leaders, condemned the attack as an "awful crime." Arafat said he ordered an investigation.
The explosion, detonated by a remote-controlled explosive device, occurred as the second vehicle of a three-car convoy had just cleared a checkpoint and entered Gaza, said State Department spokeswoman Brooke Summers.
The three persons who died were security personnel accompanying diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, who were heading to interview Palestinian candidates for Fulbright scholarships, she said.
The U.S. Embassy advised U.S. citizens to leave the Gaza Strip after the attack.
State Department officials said they were asking the Israeli government to help evacuate any American wishing to leave the Gaza Strip. The department also is urging all American citizens on the West Bank to take all available precautions against possible attacks.
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He can't have it both ways. It is his administration's policy that enables the Palestinian leadership to block the reforms because they opposed the removal of Yasser Arafat. If Arafat is responsible, the U.S. needs to kill him.
Laura Bush Slams Attack in AP Interview
By MICHELLE FAUL
Associated Press Writer
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP)--First Lady Laura Bush condemned an attack on an American convoy Wednesday in the Gaza Strip, saying the U.S. diplomats were working to ``create a civilized world.''
A remote-controlled bomb exploded under the diplomatic convoy, ripping apart an armored van and killing three Americans in an unprecedented deadly attack on an official U.S. target.
``My heart goes out to the families of those who were killed in this targeted attack of the convoy,'' Mrs. Bush told The Associated Press on Wednesday, urging people to ``come to terms with what we need for a civilized society--and that is that we do not have terrorism.''
Mrs. Bush joined other first ladies of the Americas for a conference on child poverty in the Dominican Republic. She said terrorism threatened progress being made to create a stable world for children.
More than 20 first ladies were meeting in the Spanish-speaking nation to discuss encroaching poverty and its debilitating effect on children. When asked why the United States was spending more than $80 billion in Iraq instead of channeling the money to needy children, Mrs. Bush said a secure Iraq was in the world's best interest.
Rebuilding Iraq will ``help all the world,'' Mrs. Bush said in the brief AP interview. ``It is in the United States' best interest to have a free and prosperous Iraq.''
Why not call a spade a spade ... This is an act of War.
Arafat will keep right on keepin' on.
My guess is that they were from the Langley, VA branch of the Fulbright Foundation, and their scholarship interviews touch on many subjects of interest to that division.
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