Photo Credit: screen capture
Deputy State Dept. Spokesperson Mark C. Toner checking his briefing book. Oct. 22, 2015.

At the U.S. State Department daily press briefing held on Thursday, Oct. 22, Deputy State Department Spokesperson referred to Mahmoud Abbas, the man elected 11 years ago to fill a four year term as head of the Palestinian Authority, as “Mahmoud Abbas, president of Palestine.”



Has the State Department just pulled a fast one and proclaimed “Palestine” a state?

Or, as happens so often in these State Department press briefings, did the spokesperson merely repeat a phrase asked by a reporter, not realizing the ground-shaking implications of the statement?

Toner was responding to a female reporter who said, “As I understand it, Secretary Kerry will be meeting with King Abdullah [of Jordan] and with Palestinian President Abbas.”

reporter asking about “Palestinian President Abbas” at State Dept. press briefing Oct. 22, 2015.

Toner responded to the reporter, but he also appeared on the video of the briefing to be checking his briefing book when he said, “so, yeah, he is going to be – I’m just checking my – yes, he is supposed to meet Saturday with King Abdullah and then, as you said, I believe separately with Mahmoud Abbas, president of Palestine.”

In terms of the proposed substance of those upcoming conversations, Toner said that just as the Secretary met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today, Kerry was trying to “come up with concrete ways that, as we’ve said, all sides involved in this can take affirmative steps to reduce tensions.”

If the U.S. State Department is seeking to reduce tension in the region, intentionally or even mistakenly elevating the Palestinian Authority to the status of a state in the course of a press briefing is not the way to go about it.


Previous articleSurvey: Most Israeli Jews Believe Media Are Left-Biased
Next articlePlanting The Seeds Of Greatness
Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the 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:


  1. I hope the state department will be formally corrected for this grave gaff!?!
    There is no such place called Palestine and Abbas is a FAKE-estinian, just like the rest of the pretend Palestinians, who is unfit to be the president of his own lunchbox!

  2. Unesco, Obama, State Dept, Palestinians build their case on falsehoods. There is no such thing as Palestine. The Land of Israel, Judea and Samaria is the Homeland Promised by the Almight to the Nation of Israel and no lies can annul G-d's Word by a human or by a President or by the UN or even by Netanyahu. We can only affirm the TRUTH. The Word of G-d will prevail. Meanwhile, Israel will sing and dance knowing that G-d is protecting her each and every day with His loving kindness. The World will recognize the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the wisdom of the Torah coming from Zion via the Nation of Priests the Nation of Israel. May G-d Bless those who Bless Israel and curse those that Curse Israel…..

  3. Those who can claim some sanity left after living under the bhusseino regime for almost 7 years have learned that we do NOT believe anything coming from the State Department! They are liars! There cannot be a “president” of palestine…because there is NO palestine! God Bless Israel!

  4. Dream on….watch out…he and his cronies may run for President of USA..seems like they are running the US at the moment!!! not to mention ISIS as well..Remember it was Saudi terrorists that brought down the Twin Towers…Iranian terrorists kidnapping US citizens…Kazahstan terrorists carried out the Boston bombing…list goes on…Abbas is not Palestinian and NEITHER was Arafat…the Cairo born ‘father of terrorism’!!!! So..if you want to befriend them Mr State Dept Spokesperson…watch your back and your neck..may get a knife into either!!!

Comments are closed.

Loading Facebook Comments ...