WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), who led a Congressional delegation of 28 House Democrats to Israel earlier this month and who met with both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas during the eight-day trip, released the following statement this afternoon concerning the apparent homicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem as well as the truck bombing of United Nations headquarters in Baghdad:
“Ten days ago, I returned from leading a delegation to Israel, during which we met with the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. The conclusion we drew from all of our meetings was that the cessation of terrorist attacks and the dismantlement of terrorist organizations and support structures was absolutely essential if peace was to be obtained.
“Today, we have witnessed two terrorist attacks – one against the representatives of the United Nations who were and are assisting the Iraqi people in their desire for sovereignty and peace, and one against Israel and the Palestinians like Abbas, who believe the use of terror by Palestinians undermines the best interests of the Palestinian people and the possibilities of peace.
“We must condemn both attacks without reservation or rationalization. The attacks were against all the peoples of the international community who seek peace within a framework of law and justice. The only defense against such attacks is to maintain a commitment to oppose and root out terrorists and terrorist groups. And, the international community must make it clear that those nations that support,
harbor, fund and facilitate the terrorists will be subject to the condemnation of the civilized world as terrorists, as well.
“The world will be safe from terrorism only when it eliminates the structures that support it and the perverted people who perpetrate it.
“Today’s tragedies and the personal pain caused to the injured and to the surviving families of those who were killed should and hopefully will strengthen our resolve to defeat this 21st century version of world war. As we sympathize with those whose loss is very personal today, we must assure them that we will not shrink from this most recent and deadly challenge to freedom and peace.”