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                            THE WHITE HOUSE
                     Office of the Press Secretary
                     (Hilton Head, South Carolina)

For Immediate Release January 1, 1997


The President is outraged and saddened by this morning's incident in Hebron, when an off-duty Israeli soldier fired into a crowd of civilians. The President has called Chairman Arafat to express his condolences to him and to the families of the victims. The President condemns this cowardly act, which was clearly designed to make it more difficult to conclude an agreement on Israeli deployment from Hebron. The best answer to this action would be for the two sides to close the remaining gaps and move forward with the hard work of forging a durable peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Netanyahu will have America's unwavering support as they pursue that goal.