In the early hours of 24 July, an explosion occurred on a bus traveling in
a busy highway in Ramat Gan, a suicide bomber killed five Israelis and
wounded many others. Israel halted the negotiations with the Palestinians.
It also reimposed the closure on the West Bank and Gaza. These moves were
announced by the prime minister later in the day. But he also promised
that the negotiations will continue, lest the Islamic fundamentalist
organizations achieve their goal of derailing the peace process. He also
called on the Palestinian Authority to double its effort to root out Hamas
and Islamic Jihad from the areas under its control. Text:
This morning a murderous attack was carried out on a bus in the Ramat Gan
area, near the Diamond Exchange apparently by a suicide attacker carrying
a pipe - and I saw parts of the pipe - packed with explosives, which
wounded many people. There is no doubt that this was carried out by one of
the extremist elements seeking, by way of murderous terrorist attacks
against innocent people, Israelis traveling to work, to achieve their
political goal - halting the negotiation process between us and the
Palestinians. They did not achieve their political goal.
I would like to repeat things which I have said over the past 2-3 months -
there is no basis to the various reports that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad
have reached agreements with the Palestinian Authority on halting
terrorism. We had clear reports over the past three months, about their
desire to carry out attacks - a murderous attack which, from their
standpoint, would be impressive, close to the date of achieving an
agreement. If attacks were not carried out in recent months, it is not
because the Islamic Jihad or the Hamas, or Palestinian terrorist elements
which oppose the agreement between the PLO and us, did not want to carry
out attacks. It is first of all - and above all else - primarily due to
our activity and also activity by the Palestinian Authority. Only
yesterday, a Palestinian officer was killed by these same elements. In the
past two weeks, another officer, who was responsible for guarding the head
of the Palestinian court in the Gaza Strip was killed. They are also being
murdered by the same elements which want to harm the peace process.
The attack was a harsh and painful one. In light of it, I held discussions
and we decided to - initially - impose a closure and to limit traffic
between Gaza, Judea and Samaria, on the one hand and sovereign Israeli
territory. I do not know for how long; I do not plan to do this for a long
The second thing, of course, is to bolster the security presence in all
matters relating to public transportation and I will not offer details
The third thing - it is inconceivable for us, during the funerals, to
continue the negotiations. We will continue the negotiations - after the
funerals, a small Palestinian and Israeli team will determine the date and
place for continuing the talks.
We have no intention of allowing murderers from the extremist groups,
including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to achieve their political goal. We
will continue the active negotiations in this atmosphere, today or
tomorrow. After the funerals, we will meet again to set the time and place
for continuing the negotiations.
We are determined to speak with those who do not carry out attacks, who do
not want there to be attacks, who are making efforts - and being killed -
in the war against the attackers.
We will always expect, from ourselves and from the Palestinian Authority,
more efficient and effective activity in order to fight those who -
through brutal and simply crazed terrorist attacks, like this morning's -
will not achieve their political objective: the cessation of the process
in which we believe, as a path to the resolution of the conflict between
us and the Palestinians.
I know how much pain this inflicts upon the entire Jewish people and, I
would say, all peace-lovers, including the Palestinians. Certainly, many
around the world and the families who lost their loved ones in this
serious incident. We, of course, send our condolences and our wishes for a
speedy recovery to the wounded.
I know that the way to the resolution of a conflict as complex as the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not easy. There are enemies - murderers on
the Palestinian side: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the rejectionist fronts.
But we also have Palestinian partners to reach a solution, something that
we never had in the past.
I was there and saw the bus. It was difficult, painful and, I would
even say, shocking. Although this must be verified, I conclude that it is
highly probable that it was a suicide attacker, carrying explosives in a
pipe (or pipes), who blew himself up in order to harm Israeli civilians
who take public transportation to work or to other destinations.
I know that this is a difficult moment, difficult for all of us. But the
crazed and murderous actions of Palestinian enemies of peace must not
prevent us from continuing the process that we are determined to continue
- in order to resolve, once and for all, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
It is painful and certainly not pleasant - certainly for me, having been
there and hearing the curses and shouts of Israelis - because it is
certainly painful for many and they do not know to see clearly the
reality, that there are partners for peace, but there are also enemies on
the other side. And we must not let the murderers of Islamic Jihad and
Hamas achieve their political goal. And we will not submit to the
sentiments which are certainly real and painful; we must and will,
I do not want to say much now about the numerous attempts that have been
foiled, because there is no truth to the fact that Hamas and Islamic Jihad
have made an agreement with the Palestinian Authority. There is no truth
to the charge that there have been no attacks due to a decision by these
groups not to carry out attacks. If there were none, it was a result of
our actions - the activities of the security forces: the GSS, the IDF, the
Border Police, the Israel Police and the Palestinian Authority.
And we will demand of the Palestinian Authority, as we have demanded of
ourselves, that measures be increased. And I sincerely hope that all sorts
of things happening in Israel do not block the GSS and the Israeli
security forces from carrying out the necessary activities against our
enemies, now embodied in the form of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. And no sort
of legal obstacles will block the activities of these bodies.
Today is a difficult day. We also experienced difficult incidents last
week. We must continue the effort to find a solution - and not focus on a
very painful moment. Such an effort can, if we give it serious
consideration, despite our pain, offer a solution - if not today, then
tomorrow, in historical terms - to this conflict.
I turn to the Labor faction, to members of the coalition. I know that it
is hard, but we must keep going along the course which we have decided to
pursue and are pursuing.
This is the situation. We and all the security forces, are trying to
arrive at a more clear picture - to unequivocally determine whether a
suicide attacker was responsible, who he was and where he was from. I
cannot offer this information with any certainty now. From the perspective
of the Government, things must be examined fully and things said only when
there is complete certainty. I have heard it said that I said he came from
Judea or Samaria. I said no such thing, because I say nothing concerning
things about which I am not certain.
A difficult day - but, taking a long range view, one requiring greater
adherence to the course upon which we have embarked, made progress and
will continue: the resolution of the conflict between us and the
Palestinians. Along the path about which the Government has made
decisions, the Knesset has made decisions and which we will continue.