In the early morning hours of Friday, 25 February, a Jewish settler from Kiryat Arba, Dr. Baruch Goldstein, entered the Tomb of the Partriarchs and opened fire on Moslem worshippers. 29 persons were killed and 90 wounded. Dr. Goldstein was killed by the enraged worshippers. The murder took place on a Friday, during the month of Ramadan. It shocked Israel and the world and effectively halted the peace process. Few hours after the massacre, Prime Minister Rabin issued the following statement which condemned the atrocity in clear language, and expressed the hope that the peace process will not fall victim to the act of a single man. Text:
A loathsome, criminal act of murder was committed today at a site holy to both Jews and Arabs in Hebron.
The Prime Minister and Defence Minister, government ministers and citizens of the State of Israel severely condemn this terrible murder of innocent people, which occurred during Ramadan prayer services.
On behalf of the government and myself, I wish to express our sorrow over the incident and extend condolences to the families of those who were killed and :o the Palestinians people, and wish a full and speedy recovery to the wounded,
We call on everyone, Arab and Jew alike, to act with restraint and to not be drawn into committing further acts which could worsen the situation.
The ministers of the political-security cabinet will be meeting this afternoon to discuss the situation in light of this terrible act.
This is a difficult day for all those, Jews and Arabs, who seek peace, However, the crazed actions of disturbed individuals will not prevent the reconciliation between the citizens of the State of Israel and the Palestinian people.
We will do everything necessary to advance the peace talks, to prevent misunderstandings, to remove obstacles in the way and to reach, together, the day of peace; the day on which extremists on both sides will lose all hope of damaging the peace process.
The IDF and security forces have been given instructions to do all they legally can to maintain public order and prevent further incidents and bloodshed.