The U.S. State Dept. clammed up Monday when asked bothersome questions concerning a federal court decision Monday to drastically lower the bond the Palestinian Authority has to put up in a $665 million lawsuit against the Ramallah-based regime.
Spokesman John Kirby also refused to say whether the judge had lowered the bond enough to satisfy the United States, which intervened in the case by arguing that a higher bond could bankrupt the Palestinian Authority and might damage the non-existent “peace process.”
TheJewishPress.com reported here yesterday :
The judge in a New York terrorism case that ended in a victory for the plaintiffs…imposed a $10 million bond on the defendants, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. The defendants must also make $1 million monthly payments during the duration of any appeals of the $655 million award to the plaintiffs at the end of the jury trial back in February…
Attorneys for the plaintiffs, which included the Israeli law firm Shurat HaDin, had requested a $30 million monthly bond be paid into an account until the case is resolved.
State Dept. spokesman John Kirby, who is supposed to provide information while making every effort to avoid embarrassing the government, made the Obama administration look a bit stupid Monday by turning on the tape recorder to repeat “no comment” over and over instead of directly answering questions.
Associated Press journalist Matt Lee asked:
Is that [$10 million bond]– in the Administration’s view, is that too much to be asking? Does this place an undue – does the Administration believe it places an undue burden on the Palestinians?
Kirby reiterated the facts of the U.S. intervention and concluded:
And I’m not going to be able to comment further.
Lee then asked:
Well, is the United States concerned at all that some or any of this money will be actual money that you might have provided to the Palestinians in the past?
Guess what Kirby answered?
I’m just not going to be able to comment further, Matt.
And when Lee asked why not answer, Kirby reiterated:
I’m not going to be able to comment further on this particular case.
Well, maybe Kirby could comment on Lee; question if “the judge in making his determination today, took your statement of interest on board, or is this onerous to the Palestinians or unhelpful to U.S. foreign policy?”
And Kirby turned on the tape recorder again to say:
I mean, I understand the question, Matt. I’m just not going to be able to comment further today.
Al Quds reporter Sayeed Erekat chimed in to ask:
You being their largest contributor, giving the Palestinians close to $500 million a year, will you guarantee those, like a loan guarantee for $10 million and 1 million more a month?
And Kirby answered, of course:
I don’t have anything further to add on this today.
The no-answer session begins at 48:32 in the video below.