web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jen Psaki’

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).

State Dept Calls Palestinian Authority Official a Liar

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Last week, an unnamed Palestinian Authority official claimed that Rami Hamdallah received an official invitation to visit the US. Rami Hamdalla will be the Prime Minister of the Hamas-Fatah Palestinian Authority unity government.

At Friday’s press briefing, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki called the Palestinian Authority official a liar.

QUESTION: The Palestinians claim that the United States issued an invitation to Rami Hamdallah, who is the prime minister of the Palestinians, past and present. He’s been asked to form a government – a national unity government. Is that true? Could you confirm that he’s been issued an invitation? And if that is true, then does that mean that he will work with a national unity government that includes Hamas?

MS. PSAKI: Well, there has been no invitation issued to Prime Minister Hamdallah. As we’ve said all along, we’ll not make decisions until we see the final formation of the interim government and have the opportunity to assess and make a determination about whether this is a government we can work with. And we will base that assessment on the government’s composition, policies, and actions. So we’ll have to take a look when any official announcement is made.

QUESTION: So the claim made by this Palestinian official is just plain false?

MS. PSAKI: Correct.

The Hamas-Fatah unity government is expected to be announced on Monday.

Criminal Failure by the International Community

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Three hundred and thirty two drone attacks against Al Qaida and Taliban targets on Pakistani territory since 2005 demonstrate U.S. President Barack Obama’s strong resolve against terrorists that threaten the United States. Only last week, the latest wave of air strikes launched or enabled by his government against Al Qaida networks in Yemen killed 55 suspected extremists, possibly including master bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri.

Of course no one expects the U.S. to send drones in reply to the news that the Palestinian Authority [PA], upon which he has lavished billions of dollars and thousands of hours of diplomacy, was going into business with Hamas, which the United States has branded a terrorist organization.

But one could hope for something more forceful from Washington than State Department spokesman Jen Psaki’s weak and vacillating response in which she attempted to take the heat off Hamas and the PA by taking a gratuitous dig at Israel. “There have been unhelpful steps from both sides throughout this process,” she said.

If the US response was feeble, the EU’s was treacherous.

Like America and several other countries, the EU designates Hamas as a terrorist organization. Yet the spokesman for Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs head, actually welcomed the proposal to bring Hamas into the PA.

Though shameful, this is far from surprising. It is part of a lengthy pattern of witting or unwitting EU encouragement of Middle Eastern terrorism.

The EU has contributed its taxpayers’ money to paying the salaries of convicted Palestinian terrorists via unconditional donations to the PA amounting to billions of dollars since 1994. Some of this money has also been spent on school textbooks, television programs and other PA propaganda that incite hatred and terrorism against Israel.

Ashton and the EU have called repeatedly for an end to the Israeli-Egyptian security operation on land and sea around Gaza. The operation is designed to prevent predominantly Iranian-supplied munitions and materiel for terrorism from entering the Gaza Strip, and to stop Gaza terrorists and weapons moving to attack Israeli or Egyptian targets.

At the same time, the EU, like the UN, has usually remained mute in the face of volley after volley of Iranian-supported rocket attacks from Gaza directed against the civilian population of Israel. These rockets are fired mainly by Hamas and their terrorist bedfellows, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Silence and inaction by such significant international bodies as the UN and the EU must, in these circumstances, add up to at least a degree of culpability.

Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Peace Process, seems to have swallowed Abbas’s suggestion to him that reconciliation with Hamas will be on the basis of “recognition of Israel, non-violence and adherence to previous agreements.” On that “understanding,” the UN, like the EU, apparently welcomes and even supports the prospect of a terrorist group’s incorporation into the PA.

Were Hamas indeed to commit — plausibly — to such undertakings, then Israel could of course continue peace negotiations and cooperation with the PA on current terms. But other than Abbas’s words to Serry, there is no indication of this and, in the real world, Hamas is not likely even to consider such conditions.

Prime Minister Netanyahu therefore had no choice other than to suspend the peace process. This was his obligation to the Israeli people and to the international community. How could he possibly continue to negotiate with an entity that is itself negotiating with a vicious, murderous and unrelenting terrorist group hell-bent on the destruction of Israel and outlawed around the world?

Of course Abbas knew full well when he agreed to unity with Hamas that this would end the peace negotiations. But this is only the latest in a series of steps that Abbas has taken to sabotage the peace process. He rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework principles last month; he has repeatedly refused to discuss PA recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people; and at the end of March he initiated a move to join 15 international organizations, contravening an agreement to make no unilateral moves in the international arena during the period of the peace negotiations.

Making A Deal With The Devil

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The announcement that the Palestine Liberation Organization, which essentially is the parent organization of the Palestinian Authority, had entered into a unity agreement with Hamas might have been the last straw.

As the United States was working feverishly to extend the April 29 deadline for the peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas openly thumbed his nose at the U.S. and slammed the door on the peace process, perhaps for the final time.

By agreeing to end their feud and form a unity government with Hamas, which has been deemed a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority sent a decisive and disturbing message that they are not interested in peace.

The United States did not pull any punches in delivering a sharp response to the news.

“The timing was troubling and we were certainly disappointed in the announcement,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. “This could seriously complicate our efforts – not just our efforts, but the efforts between the parties, more importantly, to extend the negotiations.”

She added, “Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties. It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.”

In response to the PA’s move, Israel announced it was suspending the peace talks.

“Instead of choosing peace, [Abbas] formed an alliance with a murderous terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu. “[Abbas] has formed an alliance with an organization whose covenant calls for Muslims to fight and kill Jews. Whoever chooses the terrorism of Hamas does not want peace.”

Over the years, individuals on all sides of the issue have debated the merits of the seemingly endless peace process and questioned the feasibility of achieving a lasting and genuine peace agreement. However, the fact is that the present situation, which has continued to deteriorate, is untenable and unsustainable.

Sadly, we have seen the physical and emotional toll that the endless barrage of rockets fired from Gaza has on Israel and the detrimental effect it has on the thousands of men, women, and children who live under a constant threat of attack. We know how damaging and destructive the Hamas terrorists, who are lurking in the shadows waiting to strike, can be.

Peace is critical to the continued survival of Israel. Israelis pray for peace. They yearn for peace. They need peace. Yet peace continues to elude them.

Unfortunately, it is a classic Catch-22 situation. Many have questioned the ability of the PA to enter into a peace agreement with Israel when it is not representative of the entire Palestinian Arab world and is at odds with Hamas, which in effect controls Gaza. At the same time, how can Israel enter into an agreement with the PA when it has chosen to make a pact with Hamas, a terrorist organization that has absolutely no interest in coexisting with Israel? Hamas wants to destroy Israel and all it stands for, or die trying.

By abandoning the negotiating table and turning its back on the peace process, the PA has shown its true colors and validated what its critics have been saying for years – namely, that it cannot and will not make a good faith effort to achieve a peaceful resolution to the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict.

With his decision to unite with Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas has cast off the mantle of “statesman” he desperately tried to be and shown himself to be an opportunistic obstructionist. He threw away diplomacy and chose terrorism instead.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/making-a-deal-with-the-devil/2014/05/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: