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July 5, 2015 / 18 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Lee’

State Dept.: Iran ‘Hoodwinked Countries but This Time It’s Different

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

An assistant Secretary of State has said that Iran “hoodwinked” Latin American countries and did not honor agreements, but Foggy Bottom says nuclear talks are a separate issue, so don’t worry.

Following are remarks from Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere to retirees on Foreign Service Day Friday:

The involvement of Iran in the Western Hemisphere is never benign. I want to underscore that: it is never benign. Iran signed an enormous number of agreements with countries in the region, almost none of which have come to any real fruition or benefit for those – for the countries of the hemisphere….

I do think that there are fewer countries that get kind of – that kind of get hoodwinked by Iran.

She also said that economic sanctions on Iran have made it difficult for it to follow through with several agreements and that Iran’s desire to be a greater influence in the West requires close monitoring.

First of all, sanctions work. Second of all, Iran cannot be trusted.

The third statement would seem to be that the United States cannot trust Iran to honor an agreement on its nuclear activity and should not lift sanctions, but the State Dept. differs.

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked State Dept. spokesman Jeff Rathke on Friday to explain otherwise, and here is how he tried to wiggle out of Logic 101:

That is a separate issue from the nuclear talks which are focused on Iran’s nuclear program…: I think there’s a difference between the types of agreements you’re talking about.  You’re referring to agreements …on economic cooperation and other such things.

What we’re talking about in the nuclear context is, first of all, a situation where there is a unified international community where there are international sanctions, a wide variety of them, UN sanctions, United States sanctions, European Union sanctions, as well as others, that put pressure on Iran and also that make it in Iran’s interest to deal with those sanctions and to negotiate on the nuclear program.

And how about the billions of dollars that would flow into Iran’s coffers when sanctions are lifted in return for a deal? “Are you not concerned at all that what you don’t see now in terms of a growing Iranian threat in the Western Hemisphere will become a concern if Iran suddenly has a windfall of billions and billions of dollars in money? Lee asked.

No problem, Rathke answered.

“We have separate ways of dealing with other problematic behavior by Iran, whether it’s in regional context, whether it’s support for terrorism, and so forth.  So that’s why we’re focused on the nuclear issue.  And if Iran meets all of its required steps under an eventual joint comprehensive plan of action, then the world will be a safer place because of it.” he said.

Note the two-letter word “if.”

But didn’t Asst. Sec. of State Jacobson say Iran’s presence in the west is “never benign”? So this time it will be different?

“Well,” Rathke said, “we remain concerned about those – about Iran’s activities and we will remain vigilant about them and we retain the tools to deal with them.”

Vice-President Joe Biden is very concerned, or at least that is what he said last week to a Washington think tank, to wit:

“Despite good reasons to think that most of it [money] will go to urgent domestic needs, some or all of it may fund further mischief in the region.”

Rathke reiterated “we are vigilant.”

Therefore, so the “logic” goes, Obama won’t get hoodwinked.

 

Arab Reporter Lobbies State Dept. for ‘More Aid to PA and Gaza’

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Said Arikat is the Washington, D.C.-based reporter for the Palestinian Arab Al-Quds newspaper. So what? Well, it matters because Arikat has found an amazing pulpit from which he ensures that the Palestinian Arab viewpoint of just about every major event is heard.

Arikat is thus able to have a grossly disproportionate impact on the huge media outlets who are represented in those press briefings, as well as on U.S. officials who staff and monitor them.

How does Arikat do that? He is part of the Washington press corps and a permanent, and extremely voluble fixture in the U.S. State Department daily press briefings.

From that perch, Arikat patiently, painstakingly, day in and day out articulates the Palestinian Authority’s agenda in the guise of questions about the Middle East conflict, shamelessly couched in advocate’s terms, not those of an objective journalist.

The State Department spokespeople typically respond to Arikat as if he were a lovable, goofy child, one they try to humor. But Arikat is ready with his agenda at each session, and he likes to make sure that the points that matter for his purposes are discussed over and over again, sometimes for days at a time. The State Department almost always obliges.

Here’s just one example from a briefing that took place last Thursday.

During the session, Arikat raised an issue that had been discussed earlier in the week: whether Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer had acted inappropriately by not mentioning Sen. John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress when Dermer had a meeting with Secretary of State Kerry.

Arikat was following up a series of questions that had already been raised and put completely to rest by Matt Lee, of the Associated Press. Lee acknowledged that the spat over the invitation to Netanyahu had been exhaustively discussed earlier, but he asked about a New York Times article published that day, quoting anonymous sources criticizing Dermer.

Psaki pointed out that she had no idea who the anonymous source was, but assured Lee and everyone else in the room that only official, non-anonymous sources could speak for the State Department’s position. Case closed? Not for Arikat.

This is how that portion of Arikat’s “questioning” went:

ARIKAT: I have a couple question on Israel, but I wanted to ask you about the ambassador. You do believe that what he did was actually breach diplomatic protocol? Did he?

MS. PSAKI: I think we spoke about this pretty extensively last week, Said.

ARIKAT: To hear it again, he did breach diplomatic —

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think we need to repeat it. I think we can point to the —

ARIKAT: Okay. All right. Let me ask you —

MS. PSAKI: — twenty times I said it last week. Go ahead.

Arikat was able to extend a “discussion” regarding a very sore point between the U.S. and Israeli governments, by asking the State Department to comment on accusations against Israel that had already, numerous times, been discussed and dismissed.

Arikat’s technique is simple but quite effective: he keeps circling back to get across his points. As in this example, he is not really asking a question, which is all that reporters are supposed to do in these government press briefings. And yet he gets this prime airtime nearly every single day.

In this particular briefing, however, Arikat did something which should have set off virtual alarm bells even at Foggy Bottom. It says a lot that no one even flinched, because it was Arikat who has gotten away with so much for so long, that it’s simply expected.

Arikat actually lobbied the State Department to increase its funding of the Palestinian Authority. He’s a journalist, remember, not a diplomat. And he’s making his demand for money at a press briefing!

A press briefing is where the government department providing the briefing is supposed to be putting out information on what it is doing and what its positions are – not receiving requests for goodies from supplicants (through their advocates) around the world. Yet no one batted an eyelash.

Here’s the bulk of the conversation, to see the complete exchange, please check the transcript.

ARIKAT: — some Israeli issues. The Israelis today cut off electricity or reduced the electricity to the Palestinian Authority areas, saying that they owe them about $450 million or something to that effect accumulated over the last few years, that of course coming at a time when the Palestinians claim that you have reduced their aid to them by a huge amount, more than 50 percent. Is there anything that you can do perhaps —

MS. PSAKI: Well, first of all, Said, on the second piece, I think I’ve spoken to this several times in here about the fact that reports or claims that we have reduced our aid or changed our aid are not accurate. Our aid is continuing.

On the first piece, I have not seen those reports. I don’t have confirmation of them. I’m happy to talk to our team about it.

ARIKAT: Well, the Israelis, I mean, they announced that the Palestinian Authority said yes, it’s true, they reduced their electricity. Is there something that you can do in this case, perhaps infuse the Palestinian Authority with some emergency funds to deal with this issue?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, we provide a range of funds to the Palestinians. That’s continued. I’ll talk to our team and see if this is an issue that we’re closely tracking.

[Emphasis added.]

Really? That is what a journalist is doing? And the State Department’s response? Oh, we’ll look right into that and see what we can do.

Finally Arikat, ever the advocate, mournfully explains that the Secretary of the Arab League and the Secretary General of the United Nations had both mentioned that day that the situation in Gaza was deteriorating.

Arikat tied those comments to a recent discussion about donor nations not having yet fulfilled their pledges to Gaza. He also suggested that the U.S. had decreased its funding, a point Psaki rejected when she was able to get in a word edgewise. Nonetheless, Arikat essentially pleads the case for additional Gaza funding because – and here he puts on a sad face –  “the new school semester is starting.”

There is not another member of the Washington press corps who wields his position in the briefing room as an advocacy tool. Oftentimes reporters are dogged in their efforts to extract information the State Department spokesperson is choosing not to address head-on, but no reporter consistently advocates a particular nationalistic viewpoint as Arikat does.

And so The Jewish Press plans to have as a semi-regular news feature about Said Arikat and his lobbying from the State Department Press Briefing Room. It will be called “Said Says.” Watch for it.

State Dept Press Corps Shapes US Response to Netanyahu’s UN Speech

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The State Department press corps continues to spin madly against any statements or positions taken by the Israeli government, as made clear in the daily press briefing comments following Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, Sept. 29.

Those who paid close attention to Netanyahu’s speech will recall that he made one overarching point. That the Islamic terrorist groups now arrayed around the world, but centered largely in the Middle East, share a common ideology that is a danger to everyone who does not share that ideology. And that ideology is global Muslim domination.

Netanyahu labeled them all “Militant Islam.” In this group he named, in addition to ISIS, Hamas and the Islamic State of Iran, “Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Shabab in Somalia, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Al Nusra in Syria, the Mahdi Army in Iraq, the Al Qaeda branches in Yemen, Libya, the Philippines, India and elsewhere.”

To support the position that all share the same goal of global Militant Islamic domination, he quoted the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; the leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal; and the founding and current rulers of the Islamic State of Iran. All three state clearly as their doctrine that their ultimate goal is for Islam to be the supreme faith of the entire world, and for that goal to be realized through force.

Baghdadi: “A day will come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master, the Muslims will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism and destroy the idol of democracy.”

Mashaal: “We say this to the world: by Allah you will be defeated. Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world.”

Khomeini: “We will export our revolution to the entire world until the cry of ‘There is no god but Allah’ will be heard throughout the world.’

And this, from the current commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards: “Our Imam did not want the Islamic Revolution for this country. Our duty is to prepare the way for an Islamic world government.” And this, from Iran’s current foreign minister: “We have a fundamental problem with the West, and especially with America. This is because we are heirs to a global mission which is tied to our raison d’être.

So what was the state department press corps’ response to this point made by Netanyahu? It was to ridicule the grouping of ISIS, Hamas and Iran, to paint as absurd the concern that Iran is every bit as dangerous – in fact more so – as is ISIS.

This, from the senior press corps correspondent, Matt Lee, of the Associated Press, regarding Netanyahu: “One, he has a theory or believes that Hamas, ISIS, Iran – and Iran are basically kind of all part of the same big thing, which is this – what he would call a scourge of militant Islam. Do you – does the Administration agree with that?

 MS. PSAKI: (Inaudible) never heard us state it in that way. We believe they’re both terrorist organizations. We obviously believe that ISIL poses a different threat to the United States, based on, of course, the military action and other efforts that are underway. We don’t believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu or anyone else from Israel is suggesting that the United States launch a military campaign against Hamas, so we certainly – they are both designated terrorist organizations under the United States designations, but certainly we see differences —

QUESTION: Well —

MS. PSAKI: — in terms of the threat and otherwise. But go ahead.

QUESTION: But he’s – he linked them with Iran as well, and saying that Shia – it doesn’t really matter, Shia or Sunni, they essentially all want the same thing, which is a Muslim caliphate dominating the world. Do you – does the Administration believe that that is the case, that Hamas, ISIS, Iran, Hezbollah, these other groups, Boko Haram, the ones that you mentioned, are all part of the same kind of militant Muslim —

QUESTION: — Islamic attempt to rule the world?

MS. PSAKI: We would not agree with that characterization, no.

Lee’s question collapses the strong distinction Netanyahu made at the outset, in which he referred only to Militant Islam, certainly not all sunnis and shiites as calling for global Muslim domination.

Cruz: I’ll Intro Bill to Strip US Citizenship From ISIS Members

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

According to the U.S. administration, and as discussed at Friday’s State Department Press Briefing, approximately 100 Americans are presently in Syria, many of whom are there to join the jihadist force ISIS, the rest to fight with a different terrorist group, al Nusra.

Although the Administration speaks very fiercely about those terrorist groups, especially ISIS, which President Barack Obama recently called “a cancer,” an idea put forth by a Republican senator was the object of derision and laughter both by reporters and the assistant spokesperson for the State Department, Marie Harf.

On Friday, Sept. 5, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced that he intended to introduce legislation that would bar U.S. citizens who went abroad to fight with ISIS from returning to the country by stripping them of their U.S. citizenship.

Cruz announced that as soon as the Senate is called back into session on Monday, Sept. 8, he intended to file the Expatriate Terrorist Act of 2014.

“Americans who choose to go to Syria or Iraq to fight with vicious ISIS terrorists are party to a terrorist organization committing horrific acts of violence, including beheading innocent American journalists who they have captured,” said Sen. Cruz. “There can be no clearer renunciation of their citizenship in the United States, and we need to do everything we can to preempt any attempt on their part to re-enter our country and carry out further attacks on American civilians.”

The law would amend a current statute that deems certain action taken by a U.S. citizen to constitute a renunciation of their citizenship. The addition which Cruz intends to introduce would include “becoming a member of, fighting for, or providing material assistance to a designated foreign terrorist organization that is working to attack the United States or its citizens.”

The amendment would ensure that due process is ensured, but beyond that would find that

“If a U.S. citizen undertakes these acts with the intent of supplanting his U.S. Citizenship with loyalty to a terrorist organization, that person can be deemed to have forfeited their right to be a United States Citizen and return to the United States.”

The merry crew at the State Department briefing room, however, treated the idea as absurd, and suggested that Sen. Cruz’s proposal was to strip a U.S. citizen of his citizenship simply if he traveled to Syria, even if just to report on the war or to provide humanitarian assistance. The following is the exchange between the Associated Press’s Matt Lee and State Deparment Spokesperson Harf:

QUESTION: Marie, there’s some on the Hill who think that – who say, who make the argument that simply traveling – for an American citizen to travel to Syria right now should be enough to either, one, revoke their passport, or two, revoke —

MS. HARF: Just for someone traveling to Syria? That’s a —

QUESTION: Well —

MS. HARF: — interesting way of reading United States law and the Constitution in terms of passports and citizenship.

QUESTION: No, no, no. I think that they’re suggesting that maybe it should be written in – the Brits have announced their plans to do —

MS. HARF: Right.

QUESTION: — to step up their procedure for doing this kind of thing.

MS. HARF: Well, look, there are American citizens who travel to Syria, even though we tell them on to, as – for example, reporters or aid workers.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: Right.

QUESTION: So you would – this is not my —

MS. HARF: Well, traveling to —

QUESTION: This is not my idea.

MS. HARF: I know.

QUESTION: It’s some – it’s other people’s idea, and I’m just —

MS. HARF: I know. It’s sources on the Hill.

QUESTION: Well, it’s —

MS. HARF: Some on the Hill.

QUESTION: Senator Cruz, your favorite senator, is tweeting this kind of thing.

MS. HARF: Oh, God. Here we go again. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: So – no, look.

MS. HARF: Wait – this is a real question, though.

QUESTION: So – it is a real question.

MS. HARF: I know. I just said it was.

QUESTION: So you’re saying you would oppose – you would oppose some kind of a blanket —

MS. HARF: Well —

QUESTION: — law or legislation that would strip people of their passports and citizenship for going to a place —

MS. HARF: Well, let’s – first of all, I’m not going to take a position on hypothetical legislation. Certainly, that’s not my purview. But let’s start here. For one point, we – people who just travel to a country I think I would feel comfortably – comfortable legally saying is not grounds for revoking your citizenship or taking your passport.

QUESTION: I know it’s not now. I think the point is –

MS. HARF: I don’t think it – not traveling to a country, nor should it be. There’s travel restrictions in place. Now, the question of how you prevent Americans who have traveled to a place like Syria and joined a terrorist organization, that is, said they want to attack the U.S., that is a separate question. We have the authority now to revoke their passports under U.S. law if the Secretary makes a determination about their threat to U.S. national security. We already have that power. We also have the power if there’s a law enforcement request —

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: — to revoke their passport if there’s an outstanding warrant or something like that.

In other words, the idea Cruz said he intends to introduce is neither idiotic nor would it constitute a violation of the U.S. constitution, but the repartee at the press briefing certainly suggests that the senator is an unstable nut job whose ideas are laughable. In reality, the idea not only has merit, a version of it already exists and Cruz’s intention is simply to streamline the process.

Is the US Furious Over ‘Israeli’ Criticism of Kerry?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

The United States is circling the wagons around their secretary of state whose ego was apparently wounded by a torrent of Israeli criticism over the weekend regarding his proposed ceasefire draft plan.

John Kerry’s defenders are helping him look more pathetic by taking such umbrage to a unified Israeli cabinet’s rejection of his ceasefire proposal. And a virtually unified Israeli public, including the leftist and far left Israeli media, who are being accurately represented by the Israeli government’s less than flattering evaluations.

One of the biggest complaints about Israel’s criticism was ascribed to the State Department’s spokesperson Jen Psaki. She said, and was quoted in a myriad of media reports for saying, that Israel’s conduct in disseminating what she claims was false information about the proposed ceasefire draft: “it’s simply not the way partners and allies treat each other.”

There was a textbook example of a journalist baiting a government official to snipe at another government’s leadership despite her best efforts not to seem to be sniping.

At the State Department’s Daily Briefing on Monday, July 28, Matt Lee of the Associated Press was able to put words into Psaki’s mouth, and continue leading her into accepting certain phraseology to suggest — undoubtedly accurately, but surely going further than Psaki intended – that the U.S. administration was furious with Israel for disrespecting Kerry.

The questions asked by Lee included, “how angry are you? How unhelpful do you believe the Israelis, or at least some Israelis have been in this issue? And how angry are you at what you claim to be a serious misrepresentation of what the Secretary was trying to do?”

Lee then followed up with: “so you accuse – you’re accusing at least some in the Israeli Government of waging a misinformation campaign?”

When Psaki informs Lee, and the rest of the press corps, that she doesn’t have any information on the sources who were allegedly providing inaccurate information, the AP reporter followed up by incorporating one of the most quoted phrases of the day. The exchange follows:

QUESTION: When you say that this is not the way friends and allies should treat each other, you’re referring to Israeli treatment of Secretary Kerry and of his – of the Administration’s attempt to get a ceasefire together?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think there are obviously some anonymous sources that are out there that are speaking on behalf of the views of the Israeli Government. Whether or not that is an accurate depiction of their position is not for me to make a judgment of, but —

QUESTION: So how serious is this, in terms of jeopardizing the relationship?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think – I think Israel remains an incredibly important partner.

But Lee was only succesful at goading Psaki into revealing what her employer and her department are apparently feeling. But was the anger directed at the appropriate party? And was the criticism, in any event, justified?

The claims that Israeli leadership was harsh in its criticism concerning Kerry’s proposals and his behavior overlook several important facts. To wit: that while anonymous sources were likely quoting at least some members of the Israeli government, the harshest public attacks on Kerry’s flat-footed diplomacy came not from government officials, but from center, left and even far left members of Israel’s famously leftist media. For example, Barak Ravid of Haaretz wrote that Kerry’s “conduct in recent days over the Gaza cease-fire raises serious doubts over his judgment and perception of regional events.”

The Times of Israel’s editor-in-chief, David Horovitz, lambasted the secretary of state’s plan as something that looked like it might have been drawn up by or for Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

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?”

Kerry: Chem Weapons Used in Syria; Arabs Lied on Talks Walkout

Monday, August 26th, 2013

U.S. secretary of state John Kerry spoke to reporters at a press briefing today to discuss the issue of chemical weapons used against civilians in Syria.

Kerry was emphatic that the U.S. is absolutely certain chemical weapons were used against Syrian civilians, and he brusquely brushed aside claims made by the Syrian regime that it was the opposition who used the weapons.  The secretary of state was aggressive in his denunciation of the Assad regime’s offer to allow in inspectors while continuing to attack the same area where the chemical weapons had been used.

“It is a moral obscenity and, despite equivocations, is undeniable,” Kerry said about the use of chemical weapons.

“Our sense of basic humanity is offended,” by the use of the weapons, but also by the regime’s “cynical attempt to cover it up,” Kerry told reporters.  He said the regime’s “belated offer to allow access,” coupled with “today’s attack on U.N. investigators” is “not the behavior of a government with nothing to hide.”

The secretary of state’s report was long on emotion but short on direction.

All Kerry would say about actions being taken is that President Obama is “actively consulting with members of congress” and with “key allies,” and that the president would be “making an informed decision,” presumably about whether and when the U.S. will take any military action against Syria.

In the daily briefing given by State Department spokesperson Marie Harf following the secretary of state’s statement, it appears that any response that the U.S. is formulating at the present time is focused solely on the use of chemical weapons, and not as a response to the ongoing civil war.

PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP LIED ABOUT CANCELLING TALKS IN JERICHO

Spokesperson Harf also, in response to intense questioning by Matt Lee of the AP, reiterated her earlier unequivocal statement that there had been no cancellation of talks between the Israeli and Arab Palestinian negotiators.  Lee, frustrated by Harf’s refusal to be cajoled into going off message – she repeatedly stated, “we are not going to confirm every meeting that takes place,” finally burst out, “one party is lying…” and later wondered aloud “why won’t you just say the Palestinians” are lying? Harf refused to respond, leaving Lee’s statement uncontested.

In other words, Lee revealed that despite the public statements by Arab Palestinian leaders following the funerals of those who died in Qalandiya on Monday, no talks were cancelled.  The Arab Palestinian leaders were playing to their street, while going forward with the talks.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/st-dept-chem-weapons-used-in-syria-arabs-lied-about-cancelling-talks/2013/08/26/

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