14 February 2001
Agenda item 164
Measures to eliminate international terrorism
I wish to draw your attention to a heinous act of terrorism which was perpetuated today in the heart of Israel by a Palestinian terrorist.
This morning, a Palestinian driver from Gaza, an employee of the Israeli bus company Egged, rammed the bus he was driving into a group of civilians and off-duty soldiers waiting at a bus stop near Holon in central Israel. Eight Israeli citizens were killed and 19 were injured, some critically.
The bus had just completed its morning route shuttling Palestinian workers from Gaza to their jobs in Israel, as part of the Israeli government programme to provide Palestinians with access to jobs in Israel, despite the security risks for Israel during this present wave of Palestinian violence.
The Hamas Izzadin al Kassam terrorist faction has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. It should be recalled that convicted terrorists of the same faction have recently been released from Palestinian Authority jails, in violation of signed Israeli-Palestinian agreements and despite repeated Israeli warnings that terrorist attacks would imminently result.
The Palestinian Authority cynically justified the attack, placing the responsibility for it on Israel.
The crime which was committed today is merely the latest in a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israel and Israeli citizens. I have detailed these incidents, the number of which has sharply increased in recent weeks, in a number of letters addressed to you, most recently in my letter dated 13 February 2001 (A/55/781-S/2001/132) and in my letters dated 2 February 2001 (A/55/762-S/2001/103), 25 January 2001 (A/55/748-S/2001/81), 23 January 2001 (A/55/742-S/2001/71), 28 December 2000 (A/55/719-S/2000/1252), 22 November 2000 (A/55/641-S/2000/1114), 20 November 2000 (A/55/634-S/2000/1108) and 2 November 2000 (A/55/540-S/2000/1065).
Israel now finds itself in a daily reality of ongoing Palestinian violence and terrorism directed against its citizens and security forces.
Israel places the responsibility for this latest attack on the Palestinian leadership, whose cynical approval for such attacks, both tacit and openly expressed, is the primary reason for the continuation of the current wave of violence. This support of violence stands in direct contradiction to repeated legal undertakings made by the Palestinian Authority in agreements concluded with Israel. It also stands in direct violation of Chairman Arafat's signed commitment of 9 September 1993, in which he renounced the use of terrorism and resolved to ensure the compliance of all elements and personnel under his authority with this principle.
The Palestinian Authority must understand that Israel cannot accept a situation in which the road to peace, to which all Israeli Governments are committed, is marked by such heinous events, which undermine the very foundation of the peace process.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter circulated as a document of the General Assembly under agenda item 164, and of the Security Council.
H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan
The United Nations