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August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jen Psaki’

US: Israel ‘could do more’ to prevent civilian deaths

Friday, July 18th, 2014

After weeks of silence on the ongoing Hamas bombardment of Israeli cities, the Obama administration called the accidental killing of three boys on a Gaza Strip beach “horrifying” and criticized Israel for what the White House sees as lax standards on the part of the IDF.

“This tragic event makes clear that Israel must take every possible step to meet its standards for protecting civilians from being killed,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki. ”We will continue to underscore that point to Israel.”

Asked whether the president believes Israel has done enough to prevent civilian casualties, Psaki said: “We believe that certainly there’s more that can be done.”

Psaki added a word of criticism for Hamas, saying the administration has “not made any secret about our strong concern about the actions of Hamas, the indiscriminate rocket attacks, the targeting of civilians,” but stopped short of blaming Hamas for the conflict.

In addition to the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and called on Israel to focus the ground and air attacks on smuggling tunnels. He also said he hoped the operation would be conducted as precisely as possible.

For comparison purposes:

Between 2001-2014, some 21,000 to 23,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan.

Between 2001-2014, 20,000 to 30,000 civilians were killed in Pakistan.

Between 2001-2014, 133,000 to 147,000 civilians were killed in Iraq.

All these civilians were all killed by U.S., French, British and German forces.

Anti-Israel Pile-on at State Dept. Press Briefing

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The Daily press briefing given by one of the State Department spokespeople was an even nastier version of itself when it came to a discussion about the conflict between Gaza and Israel on Wednesday, July 16.

Although Said Arikat, the Washington, D.C. bureau chief of the Palestinian Arab Al Quds newspaper, typically goads whoever is leading the briefing in an attempt to force the U.S. into denunciations of Israel, today there was a virtual pile-on by various members of the press.

It started with the ever dogged, although as often as not critical of Arab tactics as of Israel, Matt Lee of the Associated Press. Lee peppered spokesperson Jen Psaki with questions about a Human Rights Watch report which charged Israel with violating international law with some of its airstrikes on Gaza. Lee then linked the HRW report to the day’s incident on a beach in Gaza in which four Gazan teenagers were killed by what Hamas claimed was a hit by the Israeli Navy.

Put aside the fact – which never came up – that the Israeli Navy immediately stated it was not firing in that area at the time the beach was struck, Lee completed his “testimony” and ended, finally, with a question: “Do you endorse or do you echo the call of Human Rights Watch here for Israel to stop these attacks?”

Psaki didn’t immediately respond in a coherent way, and Lee followed up by asking her if she believed Israel was targeting either civilians or civilian structures.

The spokesperson then launched into her pre-packaged statement that the secretary of state has called on both parties to de-escalate the hostilities, and explaining that civilian deaths, whether of children or otherwise, is of course always a great concern of the United States.

Lee, not satisfied with the non-responsive answer, resumed peppering Psaki with demands that she answer whether or not the state department agreed with the Human Rights Watch report that Israel was “killing civilians in violation of the laws of war.”

When Psaki refused to agree, Lee moved on to another part of the HRW report, which stated that “Palestinian armed groups should end indiscriminate rocket attacks launched towards Israeli population centers.” Psaki, recognizing something the secretary has said, said “we agree with that statement.” Then Lee pounced, declaring that “So you agree with Human Rights Watch when they say that the Palestinians should stop their shelling, but you don’t agree with them when they say that Israel should; is that correct?”

It went even further downhill from there, with Lee continuing to badger Psaki along the same lines. Finally, Said Arikat jumped in with, “Shouldn’t Israel be held to the same standards in this case?” Psaki dismissed him by saying she had already answered the question. She then went to the next journalist who, unfortunately for Psaki, continued with the same line of questioning.

This journalist again discussed the deaths of the four Arabs on the beach, and concluded with the accusation, “How is an Israeli airstrike on what can only be described as a civilian target in full view of international journalists be acceptable to the U.S. Government?”

Psaki again discussed the U.S. being very concerned always by the death of civilians, but refused to allow herself to be drawn into a discussion of what exactly had happened on the beach, and resorted to the U.S. focus on de-escalating the violence.

Again, this third reporter attempted to draw out Psaki to have her condemn Israeli actions: “Why wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect that civilians who, for whatever reason, happen to be living in Gaza would not become more hardened in their view of the Israeli Government, of the Israeli people, when their own children can’t ostensibly go play in the surf, and instead, the next time they see their children they’re on funeral biers?”

US Refuses to Admit Palestinian Authority Involved in Terror

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The U.S. State Dept.’s position is that it does not know that Hamas was involved in the kidnap murder of three Israeli teenagers and that despite continuing missile attacks from Gaza, it is “reviewing” events to determine if the Palestinian Authority unity government is “abiding by…the pledges that they made” to refrain from violence.

Israel has categorically identified the terrorists as members of Hamas, and it is no secret that the terrorists from Gaza, where Hamas officially is part of the unity government with Fatah headed by Mahmoud Abbas, but – no – the government of the United States  is “reviewing…circumstances on the ground.”

Hamas terrorists kidnap and kill children and try to kill Israelis with missiles, blowing up factories and hoping to blow up children in a kindergarten, and the United States is “reviewing  circumstances on the ground,” as if it is has a front row seat in a horror movie, except that this is live action.

“Would Hamas’s involvement in something like this[kidnap-murders] be cause for the Administration to rethink its support for the Palestinian – the new Palestinian Government?” Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked State Dept. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

She solemnly answered, “We do look at all kinds of information as it relates to our relationship with the Palestinians, our relationship with any entity that we work with. So I’m not going to make a prediction. I don’t know what the outcome will be of the final findings.”

That is what the State Dept. does – it looks at information. If it furthers its agenda to expel Jews from all of Judea and Samaria and most of Jerusalem, Foggy Bottom doles it out to the hunger media hacks looking for more ammunition to shoot down Israel. If it does not further agenda, it files it away under “delete.”

That explains Psaki’s comments on missile attacks.

Lee asked, “There were also, I think, 14 – more than a dozen rockets that were fired into southern Israel from Gaza today. Is that something that would make you rethink your position as it relates to the Palestinian Government?”

No chance, at least not for now.

First of all, Psaki explained from her agenda pamphlet, the United States is going to take the really bold action to “review” circumstances to see if the Palestinian Authority renounces violence.

So does kidnapping and murdering three young yeshiva students and shooting missiles at Israeli mean that the unity government has not renounced violence?

No need to worry.

Psaki reassured everyone, “We expect, and President Abbas has on many occasions also renounced this type of action. And there’s a certain responsibility in conveying that to any entities that the Palestinians are tied with.”

But not even the State Dept. can fool all of the people all of the time.

“If I shoot you at the same time as saying I renounce violence, that doesn’t really make much sense,” AP reporter Lee said and then added, “what you’re saying, though, is that apart from the teenagers – because we don’t – you don’t know – you’re not sure of the circumstances – just the rocket attacks themselves are not cause to have you rethink your relationship with the government.

“You think right now that they are abiding by the requirements?”

Guess what? Hamas is not involved in the government.

Psaki, reading from her Agenda 101 book, recalled that the “technocratic” government “doesn’t involve members of Hamas… [and] obviously, when there are incidents of violence, when there are rocket attacks, those are certainly cause for concern and we take every incident into consideration.”

Thank God, the Obama administration will show its “concern” but it also can save face for the Palestinian Authority.

A Tale Of Two Countries: America And Australia

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Even as Israelis and Jews the world over engage in practically nothing other than prayer and whatever else they can do for the three Hamas-kidnapped teenagers, it appears that for the international political arena, it’s business as usual.

Two examples come to mind. U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki’s comments over the past few days on this painful issue can be summed up in one sentence: “We urge the sides to exercise restraint.” This, even as Israel knows it must do whatever it can before time runs out.

Ms. Psaki confirmed that one of the kidnapped boys – Naftali Frankel of Nof Ayalon – is an American citizen, but most she did not even take the trouble to learn his name. “I believe his name has been reported,” she said in a Wednesday press briefing, but “I don’t have it in front of me right now.”

Asked if the U.S. bears any responsibility for the kidnapping, given its support for the new Fatah-Hamas government, Psaki allowed that Hamas is a terrorist organization, but that “we do not believe that Hamas plays a role in the government.” After further “nudging” by reporters, she finally acknowledged that “if we again were to find that an entity that we work with does not abide by the [Quartet's] principles, we would re-evaluate our support and relationship.”

The second example of business as usual concerns Australia’s stance on Jerusalem. As recently reported, Australia had announced it would no longer term eastern Jerusalem an “occupied” area. Foreign Minister Julia Bishop said she knew of no law rendering the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria illegal, and other Australian politicians echoed these sentiments. Calling the communities “illegal” does not help the peace process, Liberal MP Wyatt Roy stated, and even more significantly, Attorney General George Brandis refused, even under strong questioning in the Senate, to say that eastern Jerusalem is ”occupied” by Israel.

Crystallizing the Australian stance was Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who did not hesitate to advise his American hosts this month that it would be advisable for them “not to use terms which suggest that matters have been prejudged.… The truth is they’re disputed territories.”

Abruptly, however, in the midst of the terrorist kidnap crisis, Australia “clarified” last week that actually its position on “the legal status of the Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem,” had not changed. This was clearly the result of heavy pressure from Arab countries, including an implied threat of a boycott.

Foreign Minister Bishop met with Islamic and Arab national ambassadors, and said afterward that her country’s position is “consistent with relevant UN resolution adopted over many years, including UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.” She also wrote that the idea of not referring to Jerusalem as occupied is “about nomenclature, and not a comment on the legal status of the Palestinian territories.”

Interestingly, rather than bemoan the apparent Arab success in influencing Australian policy, we might be encouraged that the Australian cave-in appears to be quite minor. If, as Minister Bishop explained, the Australian position is limited to “nomenclature,” and Australia makes sure not to refer to “occupied East Jerusalem,” supporters of a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty have reason to celebrate. For “nomenclature” is truly the name of the game. The choice of words used by the media and public officials in describing current events is critical on the public relations battlefield, as even occasional news consumers are well aware.

As evidence, note the strenuous efforts of Islamic terrorists to ensure that the world media refer to them merely as “militants.” They have been quite successful: A Google search of the term “ISIS militants” – referring to the soon-to-be conquerors of Iraq who have been described as more cruel than al Qaeda – brings up 4.37 million instances, nearly 50 times more than “ISIS terrorists.”

State Dept. Calls for Restraint, But Doesn’t Know Name of Kidnapped American Boy

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

In Wednesday’s press briefing, US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki called for restraint on all side, during the search for the three kidnapped boys.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, we’ve been in touch with both the Israelis and the Palestinians throughout the course of the last several days since these teenagers were kidnapped. We know this is a difficult time obviously on the ground. We’ve urged continued security cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the search for the kidnapped teenagers. We were encouraged by President Abbas’s strong statement to the Arab and Islamic foreign ministers today in Saudi Arabia. But – and certainly as the search continues and in our conversations, we urge both sides to exercise restraint and avoid the types of steps that could destabilize the situation. And that’s a message that we are conveying in all of our conversations as well.

After 6 days, she also finally admitted that one of the kidnapped boys is an American citizen.

MS. PSAKI: We do, yes. So we can confirm that one of the kidnapped was an American citizen.

But after 6 days, Psaki doesn’t actually know his name.

QUESTION: Which one? MS. PSAKI: I believe his name has been reported. I don’t have it in front of me right now.

The State Department still believes that paying the PA, which then pays Hamas had no influence in Hamas’s decisions (such as pulling their financial chestnuts out of the fire).

QUESTION: But there’s – numerous Israeli officials have said that the U.S. decision to work with and continue to fund the Palestinian government, the new unity government, is – contributes – contributed to this incident with the three – is it – am I correct in thinking that you still would reject such an allegation?

MS. PSAKI: Yes, that is correct.

Keep that certainty of hers in mind, while recalling that Ms. Psaki couldn’t even bother to learn the name of the kidnapped American boy.

It’s Naftali Frenkel.

US Admits: Hamas Unity Government Can Launch Rockets, and Still Receive US Funds

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the US condemns the rocket fire from Gaza, and expects the Palestinian Unity Government and PUG president to condemn those attacks. But Psaki admits that condemning, not stopping those attacks is the maximum they expect from PUG President Mahmoud Abbas.

Furthermore, Psaki admits that even though Hamas is a member of the Palestinian Unity Government, the US admits that Hamas independently controls Gaza, and admits that Hamas launches rockets at Israel, and admits that the US will ignore all that continue to work with and fund the Palestinian Unity Government of which Hamas is a full member and consequently, a recipient of those US funds.

At the end, Psaki answers that the rocket launches really aren’t large enough of an attack to get the US to change its position.

The questions are great, and it makes for such fascinatingly convoluted reading:

MS. PSAKI: Well, we condemn all rocket fire from Gaza. It is unprovoked aggression against civilian targets and is totally unacceptable. We welcome President Abbas’s prompt and outspoken condemnation of this attack. We note that he has demanded that all the Palestinian factions remain committed to the ceasefire agreement that was signed in Cairo in 2012, and we expect the Palestinian Authority will do everything in its power to prevent attacks into Gaza – from Gaza into Israel. But we acknowledge the reality that Hamas currently controls Gaza.

QUESTION: Well, okay. So the Israelis say that President Abbas, since the unity government has been formed, that he bears responsibility for not disarming this or not preventing this attack and attacks of its kind. Do you agree that President Abbas shares – or it is his responsibility to do that, and that he is – the Israelis could look at him and say this is his fault?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we believe that President Abbas must do all in his power to prevent deterioration in the security situation, but we would also note that he has upheld his responsibility to maintain security coordination with Israel and he has publicly stressed his commitment to do that. And so I think he has made every effort to be – continue to be a partner in this regard.

QUESTION: So this doesn’t have any – this attack doesn’t have anything – won’t have any bearing on your decision to work with the unity government and continue to provide assistance to it?

MS. PSAKI: It does not. Obviously, we’re concerned about it and we condemn it in the strongest terms. But his – President Abbas’s ability to impact these type of attacks is really severely limited at this point in time.

QUESTION: Well, yeah, but isn’t that part of the – I mean, that’s part of the entire problem with agreeing to go along and work with a government, is it not? I mean, the Israelis said the whole time that these attacks are going to continue. If you recognize that his ability is extremely limited to prevent this kind of thing, for there to be security cooperation between him, his government, and the Israelis, how is it that you made the leap to go ahead and say, “All right, this is a government that we can do business with?”

MS. PSAKI: Well, this is one – this was the creation of an interim technocratic government. Obviously, at some point there will be elections. This is an interim period. As we’ve long stated, we’ll – we’re continuing assistance if we – but we’ll be watching closely and if something changes, so will – we’ll act accordingly. But nothing –

QUESTION: So how many more rocket attacks do there have to be before you decide that it’s – that we made a mistake?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, Matt, you’re familiar, I’m sure, with what the criteria are for delivering assistance. While we’re very concerned about these rocket attacks and we feel President Abbas needs to do everything possible to prevent them, we understand that his ability to do that is severely limited at this point in time.

QUESTION: So but then I don’t understand why – I can’t – I mean, if you think that this guy doesn’t have control over everyone who is either a member of or is backing his unity government, why would you do business with it? Why would you give it money? I mean, if you were one part of – I don’t know, one segment of the Israeli society, political society or otherwise, you could, if you hold Abbas responsible for this attack, hold the United States, in a sense, responsible for this attack because you guys are just continuing to support the unity government.

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, there are no members of Hamas in the technocratic unity government – technocratic government, I should call it, which is the accurate –

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: – term for it. That is one of our criteria for continuing to provide assistance. We’ll be watching closely over the course of the coming weeks and months.

QUESTION: So even though it is backed by Hamas and you hold Hamas responsible for this rocket attack today, that – you don’t see a connection? No?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not suggesting we don’t understand the connection, Matt. But again, this is a case where President Abbas strongly condemned these actions. We think he should do everything possible to prevent them from happening and to call for and provoke unity among these groups. But we understand at this point in time there’s very little that he can do to prevent them.

QUESTION: Why is it in your interest to continue to deal with the interim government notwithstanding this rocket attack?

MS. PSAKI: Because the Palestinian people and our relationship with the Palestinian Authority is an important relationship to the United States. We continue to believe that support to them is something that is important to the United States.

QUESTION: But if Hamas feels that it can shoot rockets from Gaza into Israel with impunity and this has no effect whatsoever, for example, on its ability to form a unity government with the PA, even if there are no Hamas members in the actual government – you have a disincentive that you could use here, which would be to stop dealing with the unity government or to stop funding it, and that might tell Hamas, “Well, maybe we should think twice about sending rockets in.” But the way you’ve cast it, they can send an unlimited number of rockets in and they can still be supportive of this unity government and you’ll still give the unity government and the PA money.

MS. PSAKI: Well, we made a decision as the United States Government that our assistance to the Palestinian Authority is important to the United States. And so that’s why it is continuing. And they did – have met the criteria, including the Quartet principles that have been laid out. We will be judging this government by its actions and we will address issues as needed moving forward, but nothing has changed at this point in time.

QUESTION: You don’t see this attack as an action of the government?

MS. PSAKI: No, we –

QUESTION: You see it by – you see it as an action by a supporter of the government. Not you, I’m talking about Hamas, right? I mean, you – correct me if I – I mean, if you – well, is that correct? Let’s just start there. You see this as an attack by Hamas on Israel. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Yes.

QUESTION: Yes. You do understand the equivalent – the Israelis say that because Hamas is a – while there are no Hamas members in it, this government, this technocratic government is supported by Hamas, and therefore this is a problem. You don’t agree with that.

MS. PSAKI: Well again, Matt, this is a technocratic government that just formed in the past couple of weeks. We’ll be watching events closely as time continues. The government itself has abided by the principles that we have outlined through the Quartet and what the United States expects as well, and we’ll evaluate accordingly. But nothing has changed as it relates to our assistance.

QUESTION: All right. And then just on Abbas himself, you say that he has condemned it. But the condemnation is really – I mean it’s good, I suppose, that he is not applauding and saying this is a good thing. But he needs to stop it, doesn’t he? Isn’t that the U.S. position?

MS. PSAKI: Well, he’s also demanded that all factions abide by the ceasefire agreement.

QUESTION: Right. But at some point it’s got to be actions, not words, right? So this is – I just – this is not an action enough to get you to – to get the Administration to change its position?

MS. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Clarification: Are you certain that it was Hamas that fired the rocket, or could it be some rogue group from Gaza? Because there are all kinds of rogue groups.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, I don’t have any more information. I think we’re all familiar with the connection between Hamas and Gaza and how they control Gaza.

State Dept Embrace of PUG Won’t Be Group Hug

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The official word from the State Department – the latest official word, anyway – is that the U.S. government intends to work with the newly-formed “Palestinian Unity Government” (PUG).  At least some U.S. legislators are expressing a very different opinion.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said at the daily briefing for reporters on Monday, the day the PUG was formed, that it would both continue to work with the new government and continue funding that government.

“At this point, it appears that President Abbas has formed an interim technocratic government that does not include ministers affiliated with Hamas,” Psaki told reporters.

“Moving forward, we will be judging this government by its actions. Based on what we know now, we intend to work with this government, but we’ll be watching closely to ensure that it upholds the principles that President Abbas reiterated today,” by which Psaki meant Abbas’s commitment to honor past peace deals and peace principles.

If that’s the standard the State Department intends to use, the only thing Hamas has to alter is its truthful approach. So long as the Hamas members are able to start saying in English that they support peace, it doesn’t matter what they actually do. That must be what Psaki meant.

However, senior legislative leaders were not quite so willing to buddy up with the new PUG.

Senior U.S. lawmakers said on Monday Washington should suspend aid to the new unity government until it is sure of the Islamist group’s commitment to pursuing peace with Israel, according to Reuters.

That would be because U.S. law currently prohibits this government from providing aid to “any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on world leaders to reject the PUG. Instead, one of the first phone calls he received about the PUG was from Secretary of State Kerry, stating that the U.S. intends to treat the PUG just as it has been treating the PA government under Abbas.

The Hamas Charter calls for all Muslims to “fight and kill the Jews,” and that all of historic Palestine belongs to Islam, as does any land ever conquered by Muslims (such as Spain). This is a religious, non-negotiable imperative.

Article 13 of the Hamas Charter specifically rejects the notion of peace negotiations, conferences or initiatives.

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight.

The only path for Hamas is jihad.

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.

The Hamas Charter also requires every Muslim to fight to liberate the land referred to as Palestine. In Article Twenty, the Charter refers to Jews as Nazis.

At least one member of the U.S. Congress issued a statement rejecting the idea of embracing the PUG.

On the same day that the PUG was formed, June 2, Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn, representative of Colorado’s fifth congressional district, released a statement. Lamborn had this to say about the new Palestinian unity government:

The United States must immediately suspend our aid to the Palestinian government following the creation of a unity government which includes the Hamas terror organization. This move would be in keeping with US law barring the transfer of US funds to a terror organization. To date, Hamas — which has carried out scores of suicide bombing against Israeli civilians resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Israelis — refuses to recognize Israel, renounce violence or accept past peace agreements. A facade of bureaucrats cannot hide the fact that this is a Palestinian government that supports terrorism.

Lamborn is one of the co-chairs of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus. The other co-chairs are Cong. Brad Sherman (D)(CA-30), Cong. Eliot Engel (D)(NY-16), and Cong. Trent Franks (R)(AZ-8).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/state-dept-embrace-of-pug-wont-be-group-hug/2014/06/03/

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