Israeli Prime Minister apologizes for violence against Americans

Rachel Corrie memorial website:
Brian Avery shot by IDF troops:

In response to appeals from the Bush administration, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appeared on American television last night to apologize for the recent attacks on Americans in the occupied territories.

Sharon said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the murder of Rachel Corrie by a bulldozer driver in Gaza and the unprovoked shooting of Brian Avery by Israeli troops in the West Bank.

"Young activists like these two Americans are the moral conscience of the world," said Sharon, "and are an inspiration to everyone who seeks peace and justice for all the world's citizens."

Sharon said the problems would remain as long as Israeli troops operating in the West Bank and Gaza could destroy homes and shoot Palestinians with impunity, and vowed to bring those responsible for the attacks on the American activists to justice.

The Israeli Prime Minister admitted that "not enough has been done" to sensitize Israeli citizens to the legitimate rights of the indigenous Arab population, and called for a halt to military activities in the occupied territories and a return to the negotiating table.

Sharon ended by quoting Judah Magnes, the former chancellor of Hebrew University:

"It is one of the great civilizing tasks before the Jewish people to enter the promised land, not in the Joshua way, but bringing peace and culture, hard work and sacrifice and love, and a determination to do nothing that cannot be justified before the conscience of the world."