Photo Credit: screen capture from state.gov
State Dept. Spokesperson Jen Psaki, at her final State Dept. press briefing on March 25, 2015

Once again at the U.S. State Department briefing on Wednesday, March 25, the issue of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement regarding the feasibility of creating a Palestinian State during the current period of extreme unrest in the region was a topic.

The issue was raised by Bradley Klapper, of the Associated Press. Klapper asked it of Jen Psaki, whose last day it was as the current State Department Spokesperson.

Bradley Klapper of the Associated Press
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Psaki is leaving the State Department. On April 1 she will begin her new position as the White House communications director. Psaki formerly served as a press secretary to then-senator Barack Obama during his first presidential campaign, and worked in the White House as a deputy communications director.

Klapper was piggy-backing on the briefing room lobbyist for the Palestinian Authority, Said Arikat, who writes for Al Quds newspaper.

Arikat said that during President Obama’s press conference on Tuesday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Obama mentioned “the importance of having a process, a framework, that will lead, ultimately to a two-state solution.”

Arikat then, as he does so often, prodded for a timetable for a return to the “negotiating table” to impose a Palestinian State on the region.

Psaki, however, demurred, pointing out that Israel had just gone through elections and was in the process of forming its new government. Arikat halfheartedly pushed a bit more, raised several other points ostensibly posed as questions, but barely masking his perpetual attempt to create policy sound bites by repeating words he likes strung together.

At the end of this little soft-shoe duet, AP’s Klapper chooses to pursue Arikat’s point (no doubt to the great delight of Arikat). Klapper referred back to Obama’s Tuesday press conference with Afghanistan’s Ghani. Klapper claimed that the president said he supports the two-state solution, “but that the prime minister thinks otherwise.”

Klapper asked Psaki to explain the government’s understanding regarding Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s position on a two-state solution.

The State Department spokesperson, as if she were already speaking for President Obama, ticked off that Netanyahu made some statements before the election and some after, obviously suggesting that Netanyahu had become inconsistent regarding his support for the creation of a Palestinian State.

Psaki said: “We have to see if there is actually a path to make the hard choices towards negotiations, and we don’t know the answer to that yet. So we’ll be looking for actions and policies that demonstrate genuine commitment.”

Klapper, seeking to clarify Psaki’s diplospeak, suggested that what the president was saying, was that the U.S. government no longer is sure whether Israel’s Netanyahu supports a two-state solution.

And then comes the kicker, with Klapper suggesting what Obama is really saying about Netanyahu’s support for a two-state solution: “He has to prove that, essentially.”

To which Psaki responds: “Correct.”

In a room in which there is rarely, and even then, only briefly, any challenges made to the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to living side by side with Israel in peace and security, or any calls for there to be a cessation of the glorification of terrorism and murder of Israeli citizens, the State Department briefing room instead doubles as a star chamber for the Jewish State.

Your tax dollars at work.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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