- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 4, 2001

From combined dispatches
The White House said yesterday the United States remained opposed to Israel's policy of targeted killings of suspected Palestinian militants despite Vice President Richard B. Cheney's comment that Israel had "some justification" for the policy.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer insisted that Mr. Cheney had said nothing in variance with U.S. policy, and that reporters who picked up on Mr. Cheney's remarks from a Fox News Channel interview Thursday night were taking his comments out of context.
"What the vice president was reflecting on is how both parties see justification in the actions they take. It is the policy of the United States to oppose these killings. What the vice president was suggesting is Israel sees justification for their actions. The Palestinians see a justification for their actions," Mr. Fleischer told reporters.
In the interview, Mr. Cheney was asked about Israel's policy of targeting militants with rockets and bombs.
"In Israel, what they've done, of course, over the years, occasionally, in an effort to pre-empt terrorist activities, is to go after the terrorists. And in some cases, I suppose, by their lights it is justified.
"If you've got an organization that has plotted or is plotting some kind of suicide bomber attack, for example, and they have hard evidence of who it is and where they're located, I think there's some justification in their trying to protect themselves by pre-empting.
"Clearly, it would be better if they could work with the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority and the terrorists of whatever stripe could be headed off and imprisoned and tried, rather than having them actually assassinated," he said.
Mr. Fleischer said it was unfair for reporters to focus only on the sentence about "some justification."
Mr. Cheney's spokeswoman, Juleanna Glover Weiss, said, "We do believe that the transcript speaks for itself, and there's no change in policy."
The long-standing U.S. position has been that Washington opposes the Israeli government's policy of killing Palestinians, who it fears may be planning bombing attacks on Israelis.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell reinforced the position Wednesday in a telephone call with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in which he criticized an attack that killed eight persons in or near a Hamas office in the West Bank city of Nablus Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the official Palestinian news agency called for an end to armed attacks against Israel in a statement published yesterday.
The Wafa news agency, which is controlled by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority and reflects official Palestinian positions, said Palestinians could achieve their goals "only by political means" and "not [by attacks] inside Israel, and not using firearms."
The statement, published yesterday in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida, said symbolic acts of resistance, such as throwing rocks and shoes are "more effective than mortar shells fired at Israeli settlements."
Throughout the current conflict, the Palestinian leadership has blamed Israel for the violence. Israel has repeatedly accused Mr. Arafat of failing to rein in militants, including members of Mr. Arafat's Palestinian security forces.
The statement was not issued in Mr. Arafat's name and it had no apparent effect.
Palestinians fired mortar rounds at a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, lightly injuring a 6-year-old boy, the Israeli army said.
In Tel Aviv, a Palestinian woman tried to carry a bomb into the central bus station, police said, but security guards challenged her and she dropped the bag with the bomb. Police arrested the woman, cleared the area and defused the device.
Also, Palestinian gunmen fatally shot a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel in Bethlehem. Abdullah Abu Alhawa, 56, who was gunned down in a public square, was the fourth suspected collaborator killed by Palestinians this week.

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