The following is a statement by the Communist Party of Israel.

The Communist Party of Israel (CPI) most strongly condemns the criminal military escalation taken by the Sharon government against the Palestinian people. The Sharon government, along with irresponsible right-wing elements of the coalition, are exploiting the assassination of of Rechavam Zeevi (see last week’s issue) as an excuse to torpedo the international efforts to break the cycle of bloodshed, to return to the negotiating table to achieve a just solution to the Middle East conflict.

The government is using Zeevi’s assassination as an excuse to escalate the military aggression in order to defeat the Intifada, to emasculate the Palestinian Authority, and to reoccupy areas handed over to them.

The attempt to equate the Palestinian Authority with the Taliban and Yasser Arafat with Osama bin Laden is fraught with danger. This exposes the malicious plan to topple the Palestinian Authority and end the peace process by occupying areas under Palestinian sovereignty while waging a criminal war under the banner of a ‘war on terrorism.’

This criminal escalation of the last few days, includes the invasion and occupation of parts of Jenin, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tul Karem, Kilkilyeh, and the Gaza Strip, the assassination of Palestinian leaders, the daily killing of children and innocent civilians, and the total siege of these towns.

All these steps may lead to frightening explosion that could ignite a disastrous regional conflict. Violence breeds violence and does not bring security to either side.

The CPI calls on all supporters of peace, Jews and Arabs alike, to act now in order to block the way of this right-wing government and to avoid the further descent towards a destructive conflict which will bring disaster to all the peoples of the region.

The CPI calls upon the international community to intervene and pressure the Sharon government to halt the aggression, to offer international protection to the Palestinian people, and to assure its security from the crimes and killings carried out by the Israeli occupiers.

This should be the first step towards a just compromise based on the resolutions of the United Nations, which guarantees the right of the Palestinians to an independent state in the borders of June 4, 1967 as well as the right of return for the Palestinian refugees.