The following is a statement of the CPUSA National Board.

The escalating violence in Palestine and Israel is of the gravest concern not only to the two peoples, but to all people of the world. This crisis cannot be solved by military means, nor can terror – either individual or government-initiated – win security. Only a political and diplomatic solution can end the soaring deaths and injuries on both sides, opening the way to peace with justice, and true security for both peoples. Unless a just peace is won, the present conflict could spread far beyond Israel and Palestine, embroiling other states and peoples in the region and the world in a conflagration with potentially catastrophic consequences.

The Communist Party USA believes the following are urgent: 1) An immediate cease-fire and immediate Israeli withdrawal from all of the occupied territories, 2) an immediate return to negotiations based on the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant U.N. resolutions and international laws, including tangible steps by the Israeli government toward formation of an independent Palestinian state, and 3) immediate deployment of an international peacekeeping force in the Occupied Territories to stop the violence.

The CPUSA unequivocally condemns the Sharon government’s brutal reign of terror against the Palestinian population. During the most recent onslaught, thousands of homes have been demolished, their occupants terrorized. The headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority has been destroyed and its elected President, Yasir Arafat, hounded, trapped and placed in mortal danger. Thousands of men have been rounded up and subjected to draconian “selections.” Others have been summarily executed by Israeli soldiers. In the last year and a half Palestinian deaths have reached nearly 1,300 – and over 400 Israelis have lost their lives as well.

Palestinian hospitals have been attacked and medical services illegally barred from besieged areas. These outrages take place against the background of decades of severe repression visited by Israel on the displaced Palestinian population. To cover up this terrorism, the Sharon government has barred news media from reporting what is going on.

The U.S. administration is also directly responsible for the Sharon government’s outrages. The Israeli government could never have maintained its decades-long repression without the billions in U.S. military and economic support, and the political backing of successive U.S. administrations. Nor could it carry out the current violent attacks without the Bush administration’s full support.

We also strongly condemn the suicide attacks for which Hamas takes credit with the explicit goal of wrecking the peace process.

The recently proclaimed Arab Peace Initiative pointed the way when it proposed that Israel declare a just peace to be its strategic option, withdraw from the occupied territories, achieve a just solution for the Palestinian refugee problem consistent with U.N. Resolution 194, and accept a sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. In return, the Arab states would enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all states in the region. The U.N. Security Council took a similar direction in its Resolution 1402, in which the U.S. concurred.

Lasting peace can only be guaranteed by establishment of a secure, independent and contiguous Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and full sovereignty over its economic, political and social policies; the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their land and property or to be justly compensated, according to their wish; and peace and security for a democratic Israel with equal rights for its Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. Conversely, the present path of military subjugation and oppression will neither crush the desires of the Palestinian people for an independent state nor end their resistance. Nor will it bring peace and security to the people of Israel. Such a path is contrary to the interests of both peoples.

We urge all Americans who are for peace with justice to call on the White House and their Members of Congress to:

• Exert maximum pressure on the government of Israel to immediately conclude a cease-fire and withdraw entirely and permanently from all the occupied territories;

• Halt all military aid to the State of Israel until cease-fire, withdrawal and negotiations are bringing tangible steps for a peaceful solution.

• Join with the United Nations and the international community to end the bloodshed and achieve a just peace.