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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘us state department’

State Dept. Not Sure Who Owns the Golan Heights

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

The Golan Heights generally is not under the US government’s microscope when it comes to the “peace process,” but Israel’s go-ahead last week for exploring oil there left the State Dept. looking like dummies for not being able to explain how it views the area.

The United States never has recognized Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights and previously has tied it with a peace treaty with Syria, which not even the most dreamy-eyed State Dept. official mentions anymore.

When a reporter brought up the matter of the oil license at the daily media briefing in Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland last week, she said Foggy Bottom would discuss the issue with the Israeli government. The license concerns the United States even more because the company is listed as being based in the United States, and one of its investors is former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The journalist nudged deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell for an answer on Wednesday, and his muddy response left the question unanswered.

He asked, “Is there any red tape they [American companies] have to go through with the State Department, with others in the U.S. Government?” concerning who has jurisdiction over the Golan Heights.

“The United States doesn’t recognize Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights, does it?” asked the reporter.

An uninformed Ventrell kept trying to say that security for the company is the issue, and when pressed to relate to the matter of who has sovereignty, he lamely answered, “Look, it’s a very complicated legal scenario we have here. I’d have to get the lawyers to give me a full readout on where we stand on the Golan Heights. Suffice it to say there’s a major security issue right now because we have violence spilling over the border as well.”

He added he would be “happy” to look into it.”

It now is 2013, 32 years after Israel annexed the Golan Heights. By the way, at a Cabinet meeting a week after the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel officially offered Israel officially offered to return the Golan to Syria in exchange for a peace agreement.

The Arab world’s Khartoum Resolution two months later rejected the offer, stating there will be “ no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel [and] no negotiations with it.”

The State Dept.’s fuzziness is rooted in tradition. President Gerald Ford in 1975 wrote Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin that the United States has not finalized its position on the Golan Heights but, don’t worry, it will one day and will consider the Israeli position that the Golan Heights is not to be surrendered.

In 1991, United Nations Security Council, of State James Baker is presumed to have told Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, Basher’s father, that the United States did not recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan.

Now, Ventral is “happy” to find out where the United States stands, with Syria on the edge of self-destruction, let alone Lebanon.

We can expect the State Dept. to come back with a foggy answer, suitable for Foggy Bottom, that the United States does not recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory but that its future will be determined in the peace process.

Next question for Ventrell and Nuland: “What is a peace process?”

US Appeals to Israel and PA to Cool Off

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The United States is appealing to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to restrain from stoking the coals as riots threaten to escalate violence throughout Israel, less than a month before President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit.

US State Dept. deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters on Monday, “We call on Israelis and Palestinians to exercise maximum restraint as the situation on the West Bank remains tense. We’re also conveying that message directly to Israeli and Palestinian officials.

“All parties should seriously consider the consequences of their actions, particularly at this very difficult moment. We urge both Palestinians and Israelis not only to refrain from provocative actions that could destabilize conditions on the ground, but to consider positive steps to reestablish trust and deescalate the current tensions.”

Ventrell said that Israel should examine its use of administrative detentions while the Palestinian Authority should not engage in “inflammatory rhetoric.”

Who’s Being ‘Provocative’?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Israel is now “provocative” in a ratching up from State:-

In unusually rare and blunt criticism* of its top Mideast ally, the Obama administration on Tuesday slammed Israel for continuing to announce new settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians.

The State Department accused Israel of engaging in a “pattern of provocative action” that calls into question statements from Israeli leaders that they are committed to peace.

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said settlement activity only puts the goal of peace “further at risk” and urged both Israel and the Palestinians to halt all provocations and take steps to revive long-stalled peace talks.

“We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action,” Nuland told reporters. “These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace. Israel’s leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution, yet these actions only put that goal further at risk.”

I guess that since Arabs never build “settlements”, they aren’t ‘provocative’?

Note, on the Turkey blockade run, she avoids the term ‘provocation’:-

QUESTION: Okay. Well, one of the things that the Secretary said yesterday in – when – in her comments to this was that attempts to go into Israeli waters were provocative and irresponsible. And it’s my understanding that the flotilla organizers do not intend to go into Israeli waters but in – they will stay in international waters. Is that your understanding or is that not your understanding per what the Secretary said yesterday?
MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to the intentions of those involved in the flotilla. I think the Secretary was clear it was in response to a question yesterday –
QUESTION: Correct.
MS. NULAND: – as you remember, so that also speaks to the fact that publicly this issue is out there, that we do not want to see the bad situation of last year repeated. We do believe that channels exist for providing humanitarian aid to Gaza in a safe and secure way and that that situation is improving. And we urge all NGOs who want to participate in that to use those channels.
QUESTION: But does a flotilla sitting in international waters off the Gaza – off the coast of Gaza, is that a problem for the U.S.?
MS. NULAND: Again, I don’t want to get into the Law of the Sea issues here. I simply want to say that we don’t want to see a conflict at sea, on land. We want to see appropriate legitimate channels used for the –
QUESTION: I understand, but in the briefing that just preceded this –
MS. NULAND: Yes.
QUESTION: – you talked about wanting to – in another instance, in the South China Sea, the U.S. has been very concerned about the freedom of navigation.

But later used it:

MS. NULAND: Well, thank you for that, Arshad. We are quite concerned, as I said yesterday. We are talking to both the Israelis and the Turks. We are urging both sides to refrain from rhetoric or actions that could be provocative, that could contribute to tensions.

Hillary Clinton used it in connection  with North Korea:

We all agree that North Korea’s provocative and belligerent behavior jeopardizes peace and stability in Asia. We are deeply concerned by its unprovoked attack on the island of Yeonpyeong, resulting in the loss of South Korean lives.  On behalf of the American people, I would like to convey our sympathies to the victims and their families.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.  We want the people of South Korea to know that we are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you, and we are deeply committed to your defense.The minister and I share the view that the attack by the North Koreans violates the Armistice Agreement of 1953; that North Korea’s provocative and belligerent behavior threatens us all, and that it will be met with solidarity from all three countries.

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