The following is the transcript and video from the State Department Press briefing on June 20th, 2016, regarding the supplemental aid package that Israel approved yesterday to aid Israelis whose businesses have suffered due to the Palestinian Authority Arab terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, and to help improve security for the communities in Judea and Samaria.
Time: 29:55 on the video.
QUESTION (Matt Lee): Did you guys have any reaction to this additional – the supplementary funding that was approved for the West Bank settlements for – over the weekend, yesterday?
MR KIRBY: Yeah. I actually put a statement out.
QUESTION: You did?
MR KIRBY: I did —
QUESTION: I missed it.
MR KIRBY: — yesterday. I can’t believe you’re not sitting around —
QUESTION: Yeah, Sunday —
MR KIRBY: — waiting for my statements.
QUESTION: Sunday afternoon, Kirby, I’m just sitting there looking – staring at my phone —
MR KIRBY: Well, if you had been —
QUESTION: — waiting for your emails.
MR KIRBY: — then you wouldn’t have had to ask that question.
QUESTION: If you’ve already put something out, then —
MR KIRBY: Okay. I’ll let the statement stand. Seems like everybody else got a chance to read it.
QUESTION: We like to hear it directly from you, though.
MR KIRBY: But you did hear it directly from me. I signed it.
QUESTION: You know what I mean, with your own voice. It sort of gives it an added —
MR KIRBY: We’re aware of the funding package. We’re looking into further details. Our position on settlement activity remains clear and consistent: We strongly oppose all settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. We continue to look to both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to a two-state solution, and actions such as these we believe does exactly the opposite.
QUESTION: Well, wait, wait, but this isn’t for settlement activity, per se. This was not to expand or build new homes.
MR KIRBY: It’s approving more than like $18 million for settlements. It’s approving funding for —
QUESTION: But not for building them. This is for, like, helping businesses and security.
MR KIRBY: But it still runs counter to our view about settlement activity, period.
QUESTION: So securing – adding security to settlements is the same as settlement activity?
MR KIRBY: As I said, we’re still – we are still – we’re aware of this funding package and we’re still looking into it for details. But settlement activity, as we’ve said – there’s nothing – nothing has changed about our concerns about that.
QUESTION: So any money that goes into anything in a West Bank settlement is bad according to you guys?
MR KIRBY: I didn’t say that. I said we are aware of this funding package and we’re looking into the details.
QUESTION: Okay. All right. Okay.
QUESTION (New Reporter): Well, the worry here by the Palestinians is that these kind of steps make annexation of the West Bank all but a foregone conclusion, and they say that some of this money is basically geared to encourage, let’s say, tourism and to expand tourist projects and so on in the occupied West Bank, in the settlements and so on. What do you say to that?
MR KIRBY: As I said in my statement and just a few minutes ago, we’re looking into what this funding package really means. And I think I’m going to leave it at there to – for right now.