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Wednesday, October 22, 2003

US reiterates Israel's right to defend itself against terror attacks

"From now on all wars will be like this – having to fight people hiding behind civilians."

US State Department: "We are saddened by these injuries and the loss of innocent lives. The second thing I'd say is we have reiterated to Israel that it should consider the consequences of its actions and take appropriate precautions to prevent the death or injury of innocent civilians and damage to civilian and humanitarian infrastructure," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said.

"If the Palestinians would take steps on security, as we have urged, then Israel perhaps would not feel the need to act unilaterally in this way in its defense."

Official in Prime Minister's Office: "Israel must undertake sustained operations to keep the terrorists on the run," the official said. "When all the dust has cleared, seven of the 12 people killed were terrorists. . . We regret loss of life, and try to minimize it. From now on all wars will be like this – having to fight people hiding behind civilians. But you can't just leave them. I'm not saying that innocent people were not killed. But there is a war going on. Let the Palestinians understand that they should seek compensation from [PA Chairman Yasser] Arafat."

Asked if actions like the air strikes don't play into Arafat's hands by adding to the chaos, he replied, "We have no other choice. We have to stop the terrorism and can't just let the ticking bombs get through."