December 4, 2001
Mr. Hasan Abdel Rahman
Chief Representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization
and the Palestinian National Authority
1717 K Street, N.W., St. 407
Washington, D.C. 20036
Dear Mr. Rahman:
I feel certain that you will agree that the terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians this weekend were "moral obscenities, which deserve universal condemnation." I enclose a copy of my remarks concerning these attacks made at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston last Sunday.
In a major statement this past June, the full body of bishops was clear about the heavy moral responsibility of the Palestinian Authority for stopping terrorism. They said: "Palestinian leaders must clearly renounce violence and terrorist acts against innocent civilians, take effective steps to stop them, and bring to justice those responsible." I reiterate now what I have said in the past that the failure of the Palestinian Authority to control Palestinian violence is "intolerable." Much more must be done to stop the violence without further delay.
As dim as prospects for peace now seem, we remain convinced that peace between Israelis and Palestinians is possible. There is no alternative to standing up to those who are determined to thwart the peace process. As I have noted in a letter to the Israeli Ambassador, I fear that the nature of the Israeli government's military response will only strengthen the opponents of peace. The Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel must find a way out of the current violence and resume serious peace negotiations based on respect for the legitimate rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Assuring you of my prayers for a just and peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I am,
Bernard Cardinal Law
Chairman, Committee on International Policy
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops