Monday, March 22, 2004

Middle East

"France condemns the action led against Sheik Yassin, as France has always condemned all extra-judicial executions contrary to international law. This attack carries very grave risks of reviving tensions throughout the region. Violence is not a solution.

The French government expresses its grave concern that this act risks further deteriorating the situation, and we call upon all parties to exercise restraint in the face of this new blow to the recent efforts to re-launch a political process."

--the French government's response to Sheik Ahmed Yassin's assassination

Compare with:

"[T]here is no doubt of Israel's right to self-defense against the brutal use of terror by Hamas and other organizations. At the same time, we're deeply troubled by this morning's events in Gaza. We do think, as you asked, that this event increases tension, and it doesn't help efforts to resume progress towards peace.

We think all the sides need to remain focused on measures to bring to an end the terror and violence and to avoid actions that escalate tension and harm the efforts to achieve peace. It's essential that all the parties exercise maximum restraint and do everything possible to avoid any further actions that would make more difficult the restoration of calm.

As we remain focused on how to move forward, we remember that both sides have obligations, and in particular, the Palestinian Authority must do everything in its power to confront and halt the terror and violence. "

--U.S. State Department

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