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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 17, 2001

President Condemns Assassination
Statement by the Press Secretary
Assassination of Israeli Cabinet Minister

    The President condemns in the strongest terms the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi today.  He offers his condolences and those of the United States to Prime Minister Sharon, the Israeli government and people, and the family of Minister Zeevi.  This despicable act is further evidence of the need to fight terrorism.

     We have noted the statement of the Palestinian Authority condemning this assassination.  This statement is appropriate, but words are not enough.  It is time for the Palestinian Authority to take vigorous action against terrorists.  The PFLP, which operates openly in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, has claimed responsibility for this heinous act.  The PA must immediately find and bring to justice those who committed this murder, as well as those who would do harm to efforts to restore an atmosphere of calm and security for Israelis and Palestinians.

     There have been positive steps recently by both Israel and the Palestinians to improve the situation.  Israelis and Palestinians should continue down this path.  The terrorists must not be allowed to declare victory.  The parties should seize the moment to put an end to violence, implement the Tenet and Mitchell plans, and resume political dialogue.  The entire world will support them in their efforts.

                                  # # #

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