(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Following are Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 27.2.05: “This morning the Cabinet will receive a security briefing in the wake of the murder of four Israelis and the wounding of 49 in Friday’s terrorist attack (). The terrorist attack was perpetrated by members of Islamic Jihad. The orders came from Islamic Jihad elements in Syria; even though we know this for a certainty, the fact is not enough to absolve the Palestinian Authority (PA) of its responsibility for the departure of the terrorist and of its obligation to act against his partners in the crime. The immediate test for the PA will be in vigorous against Islamic Jihad members. While the State of Israel is interested in advancing towards a settlement with the Palestinians, there will be no diplomatic progress, [there will be] no progress, until the Palestinians take strong to eliminate the terrorist organizations and their infrastructures in the PA areas. Recently, the State of Israel has been showing restraint in order to facilitate progress; however, it is clear that if the Palestinians do not begin to take vigorous against terrorism, Israel will be compelled to step up military activity that is designed to protect the lives of Israeli citizens. I re-emphasize that there will be no diplomatic progress as long as the Palestinians do not act in accordance with their commitments and eliminate the terrorist organizations. On behalf of the Government, I send condolences to the families [of the victims] and best wishes for a quick recovery to those who were wounded.” BPI-info