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‘You seem to be on both sides of this legitimate/illegitimate kind of a thing’: State Dept. spox says neither Israeli settlements, nor settlement boycotts, are legitimate

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics

There was an amusing exchange today at the State Departments’ Daily Press Briefing the sums up the confused and contradictory U.S. policy towards Israeli settlements.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki dodged questions about Israel’s settlements, the boycott of Israeli goods, and the ‘framework agreement’, claiming both Israeli settlements and the boycotting of good produced in settlements are illegitimate. And, just in case you were wondering, Psaki has no opinion on SodaStream’s Superbowl commercial starring Scarlett Johansson. According to Psaki it’s all “incredibly complex” (except for one reporter’s comparison of Johansson and Dennis Rodman, that’s also apparently illegitimate). 

Here’s one highlight in the exchange between Psaki and the AP’s Matt Lee:

QUESTION: Okay. So if the settlements are illegitimate, in your view, why is it – also, you’re – let me start this again. You regard the settlements as illegitimate, but you also regard boycotts of products produced in settlements as delegitimizing of Israel. Is that right?

MS. PSAKI: Boycotts of products produced by Israel, yes.

QUESTION: On – within settlements?

MS. PSAKI: Well, produced by Israel. They’re produced in a range of places. Obviously, Matt —

QUESTION: Okay. So there’s a lot of illegitimacy here, right?

MS. PSAKI: Matt, obviously —

And another reporter picks it up (with little success):

QUESTION: — how is it that the – how does the Administration square those two positions, the – one, that the settlements are illegitimate, but that the products made there on – as a result of this illegitimacy – that boycotts of those products are, in themselves, delegitimizing of Israel? I just – I’m having a hard time understanding how that works. It would seem to me that if you regard settlements as illegitimate, you would not be opposed to efforts or to campaigns that would – that agree with that position.

MS. PSAKI: Matt, we will see if there’s more to provide.

QUESTION: But you know there are – from this end, that we’re a bit confused on this issue that Matt is raising, because you seem to be on both sides of legitimate/illegitimate kind of a thing. Can you clarify that?

MS. PSAKI: It’s two separate issues.

QUESTION: They’re two separate issues?

MS. PSAKI: That’s why I gave you our policy positions.

QUESTION: So if a settlement is illegal, and that land on the settlement produces peaches or olives and so on and gets imported, that is legitimate?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to get into a hypothetical —

QUESTION: No, it’s not hypothetical. These are real things. I mean, that’s why —

MS. PSAKI: — road race with you here, Said.

QUESTION: — there is a boycott.

MS. PSAKI: I think I’ve answered our question.

Here’s whole episode (starts around 36:00 in the video above):

QUESTION: Can we go to another topic?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Yes, Palestinian-Israeli talks.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So now that the talks between the Palestinian negotiator and Mr. Indyk and Secretary Kerry have ended, what is next? What is on the horizon? Are there any scheduled talks, let’s say, in the West Bank and in Israel? Is Ambassador Indyk planning to go back? What is next?

MS. PSAKI: Ambassador Indyk is in Washington. I don’t have anything to report on his scheduled travel. As you asked yesterday, Saeb Erekat was here for meetings with Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Indyk both Tuesday and Wednesday. There are no additional meetings planned in Washington at this time.

We continue to work intensively with both sides. And as we have said throughout the negotiations, that can happen on several levels, whether it’s phone conversations or meetings in person. All of those are proceeding, and beyond that we’re not going to provide updates on a daily basis.

QUESTION: So you are conduct – can you confirm that you are conducting really bilateral talks, that you meet with the Palestinians, then you meet with the Israelis, but there are no trilateral talks?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to confirm what kinds of talks are happening now or not. But you are aware of the bilateral talks that have happened that we – as I said yesterday, we feel this is an appropriate time in the process given that we’re working towards a framework for negotiations, we’re working to narrow the gaps between the parties. And that’s what our focus is on at this time.

QUESTION: Has there been any, let’s say, Palestinian-Israeli face-to-face talks, let’s say, since December or November? Can you tell us?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to confirm for you the timing or dates of talks.

QUESTION: Okay, and one last question on this.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: There were reports that Secretary Kerry is planning to make a trip or go to Jerusalem and Ramallah. Could you – but you said no yesterday —

MS. PSAKI: I think I answered this question yesterday, right?

QUESTION: Yeah, right.

MS. PSAKI: When you asked it?

QUESTION: Right. But today there was a story that says —

MS. PSAKI: Nothing has changed since yesterday.

QUESTION: Nothing has changed, so he’s not planning?

QUESTION: Jen, on – yesterday, I brought up this issue with the SodaStream and Scarlett Johansson.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I’m assuming that you don’t have any opinion one way or the other on Ms. Johansson’s – who she works for? Is that – I just want to make sure before we go on to —

MS. PSAKI: Right. I’m not going to speak to the Super Bowl commercial, and certainly —

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. PSAKI: — she’s a private citizen.

QUESTION: Okay. So on the broader issue, which is really what I’m more interested in —

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — can you restate – is it – am I correct that your policy on settlements and things that are produced within settlements has – is essentially – or is the same, it has not changed, and that that policy is – although you regard settlement activity as illegitimate, you do not think that there’s anything illegitimate about goods or products that are produced on that territory for – to sell – to import into the United States or to anywhere else. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: That is – our policy is that we believe that settlements are illegitimate, as we’ve said; that we reject efforts to boycott or delegitimize Israel; that any notion or reports or rumors that the Secretary or anyone in this building is encouraging anyone to do that are inaccurate.

QUESTION: Encouraging anyone to do what, to boycott?

MS. PSAKI: To boycott or delegitimize.

QUESTION: Okay. So if the settlements are illegitimate, in your view, why is it – also, you’re – let me start this again. You regard the settlements as illegitimate, but you also regard boycotts of products produced in settlements as delegitimizing of Israel. Is that right?

MS. PSAKI: Boycotts of products produced by Israel, yes.

QUESTION: On – within settlements?

MS. PSAKI: Well, produced by Israel. They’re produced in a range of places. Obviously, Matt —

QUESTION: Okay. So there’s a lot of illegitimacy here, right?

MS. PSAKI: Matt, obviously —

QUESTION: Efforts to boycott, you think, are attempts really not to go after the companies or to – but they’re to delegitimize Israel, not to express a dissatisfaction with their policies on settlements. Is that right?

MS. PSAKI: Matt, obviously, this is incredibly complex, as you’ve outlined here today.

QUESTION: Yes, yes.

MS. PSAKI: One of the reasons we’re talking about all of these issues is because we want to resolve them, we want to put an end to disputes over borders and settlements and all of these issues. That is our position. Obviously, this is a company based in Israel. Beyond that, I don’t have any further analysis for you.

QUESTION: Okay. But you do believe that efforts by groups or countries or groups of countries, like the European Union, which has talked about boycotts and that kind of thing, those in themselves are delegitimizing of Israel, which is engaged in illegitimate settlement activity on land that the Palestinians claim. Is that right?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve not been supportive, Matt, of boycotts or efforts to delegitimize Israel.

QUESTION: Can you take the question – and I don’t know if it’s possible because I’m not sure that anyone can answer it —

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: — how is it that the – how does the Administration square those two positions, the – one, that the settlements are illegitimate, but that the products made there on – as a result of this illegitimacy – that boycotts of those products are, in themselves, delegitimizing of Israel? I just – I’m having a hard time understanding how that works. It would seem to me that if you regard settlements as illegitimate, you would not be opposed to efforts or to campaigns that would – that agree with that position.

MS. PSAKI: Matt, we will see if there’s more to provide.

QUESTION: But you know there are – from this end, that we’re a bit confused on this issue that Matt is raising, because you seem to be on both sides of legitimate/illegitimate kind of a thing. Can you clarify that?

MS. PSAKI: It’s two separate issues.

QUESTION: They’re two separate issues?

MS. PSAKI: That’s why I gave you our policy positions.

QUESTION: So if a settlement is illegal, and that land on the settlement produces peaches or olives and so on and gets imported, that is legitimate?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to get into a hypothetical —

QUESTION: No, it’s not hypothetical. These are real things. I mean, that’s why —

MS. PSAKI: — road race with you here, Said.

QUESTION: — there is a boycott.

MS. PSAKI: I think I’ve answered our question. Go ahead – or Ali.

QUESTION: Yeah, it’s on – if we can digress?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Different point of that same topic.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Not speaking directly to Scarlett Johansson or whoever the celebrity happens to be, but the fact is that these famous people, when they get kind of embroiled in these international issues, they are very prominent public faces of America. So is there any – broadly speaking, I mean, we have Dennis Rodman, I could go on with different examples, but is there a concern that whenever these celebrities get entangled in these issues that it complicates the United States official relationship with these countries, or diplomatic efforts and the like?

MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously, every circumstance is different. I’m sure Scarlett Johansson would not appreciate being in the same category as Dennis Rodman, but beyond that, we look at every situation differently. I think we’ve been clear on Dennis Rodman. He’s a private citizen. He’s not representing the United States. And we do need to convey that publicly and to governments as needed. So – but beyond that, I don’t know that I have much of an analysis for you.

Do we have any —

QUESTION: Can I just ask one more question on —

MS. PSAKI: Oh. Go ahead, Jo.

QUESTION: I wanted to ask, also on Israel, today the Israelis’ intelligence minister has called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the world’s most anti-Semitic leader after the departure from office by Iranian President Ahmadinejad last year. Do comments like this – I mean, you expect people to trade insults —

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — and we’re in a situation which is obviously very tense. But do comments like this help or hinder the United States in its bid to try and bring the two sides together?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think provocative rhetoric has no place in the region, but also there’s no question that comments from either side that seek to provoke tensions are unhelpful. At the same time, as you mentioned, this has happened a bit and we take it as it comes, and both sides remain committed to the negotiations moving forward. We’re in touch with both sides, as is evidenced by the fact that they’ve both been here in the last couple of weeks about a framework for negotiations. And so that’s where our focus remains.

QUESTION: And I wonder if there’s a sense perhaps that with – we’re now six months into the process of that Secretary Kerry started.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: There’s obviously plans to try and put forward at some point his framework agreement that is perhaps creating some of these tensions that we’re seeing flaring into the media. Is there a feeling that perhaps the push from the United States is putting an undue pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu and this could actually threaten his coalition?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t think anyone believes that Prime Minister Netanyahu or President Abbas are participating in these talks as a favor to the United States. There are reasons for both sides to participate, whether it is the importance of security in Israel and securing the future of the Israeli people in the next generations, or fears of a de-legitimization campaign that we’ve seen unfortunately in some parts of the world, or the desire by the Palestinian people to have their own state and concerns about the impact of the expansion of settlements and how that’s impacting that.

So Secretary Kerry is certainly committed to this effort because he has a long history on these issues, he has a long history with these leaders. And he firmly believes, as do many people in the international community, that if you can achieve peace between these parties, that will have a positive impact on the region, it will increase security, it will help economic prosperity. And that’s the reason he’s committed, but also why it comes up in virtually every meeting he does with any world leader.

QUESTION: But if you push too hard and if the Israeli coalition government, which is very fragile, collapses, then that leaves you perhaps almost starting from the beginning.

MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously, we’re not going to get into reports of political issues that are happening on the ground, and at this point that’s a hypothetical. But clearly, the reason why we are playing a role in facilitating this is, as I just outlined, because of the positive future that it could have for people in Israel and the Palestinian people as well.

QUESTION: Do you know – or perhaps, does the Secretary believe that it is possible to get a comprehensive peace deal if both sides insist on claiming the mantle of victim?

MS. PSAKI: I think the Secretary, given his history on these issues, is not surprised that at this time when everybody knows the core issues are being discussed, that there is more rhetoric and more language that is out there, but that is not a surprise to him.

QUESTION: But both sides insist that they have been victimized here, and I’m just wondering if you think that it is possible for them to overcome that to get to a point where they can really sit down and talk about these core issues. Because it doesn’t seem – it just seems that as long as they continue to do this, and both talk about being oppressed and put upon, that you can’t get into the discussion of what really – of these hard choices that the Secretary and everyone else have been talking about for decades. So I’m wondering: Does he have any plan to try to calm them down or bring them down from these claims, the victimhood claims?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think the Secretary knows, as we all know, that there are decades and more – longer than decades of history here, that these are sensitive issues, and he’s not surprised that it’s tough and challenging and the politics are difficult on all of these issues. The parties are talking about the core issues, so that is happening now, but I don’t know that he can prevent them from feeling the challenge of facing the prospect of making decisions.

QUESTION: Jen, could I just quickly follow up —

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — on a question that I asked you yesterday? On the framework agreement, I mean that is not the same —

MS. PSAKI: A framework for negotiations.

QUESTION: A framework for negotiations —

MS. PSAKI: Yes.

QUESTION: — but everybody talks about these ideas that are being thrown around and so on. That is not an interim agreement. The Secretary is not wanting to push for any kind of an interim agreement, correct?

MS. PSAKI: No, it would be the basis for negotiations moving forward.

QUESTION: Okay. Now, if and when this framework is to be announced, in what form would it be announced? Is it going to be like in a press conference, in a meeting between the two? What do you —

MS. PSAKI: I do not have any update on the communications rollout plan from yesterday.

QUESTION: And I promise this is my last question on this issue.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Now, if this fails, I mean, do you have like a plan B? Will there come a time, with both sides feeling the essence of victimhood and so on that was raised just a minute ago, that you would actually propose your own plan – the way the United States of America sees what should happen on the ground? Is that ever likely to happen?

MS. PSAKI: I think we’re all familiar with the issues —

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: — what the core issues are. Obviously, the parties and the ideas of the parties is what we’re focused on, and I’m not going to get ahead of where we are in the process.

QUESTION: Sochi?

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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54 Responses

  1. The JillyBeans
    January 30, 2014, 7:24 pm

    For some reason, this made me feel like I was reading a script for the BBC show “In the Thick of It.” Disgracefully comedic.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 30, 2014, 8:22 pm

      i burst out laughing the first time i read it, the whole thing.

      • just
        January 30, 2014, 8:34 pm

        I accidentally and unknowingly scrolled upward at some point during my own laughing fit and shook my head b/c I thought it was a deliberate repeat of what I had just read…….

        The truth is that it was not much different from reading it straight thru.

        Pitiful and hilarious!

    • pmb1414
      January 31, 2014, 8:50 am

      Or Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First!” If the subject wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

  2. just
    January 30, 2014, 8:26 pm

    Doublespeak on steroids………

    How in the heck do these goofs do it? Is there a program somewhere that trains these creatures?

    “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

    Donald Rumsfeld

    Rummy’s Graduate School of Ridiculous Ruminations and Rot

    Thanks Annie. whew. Many thanks to Matt Lee, a true gent.

    • Ron Edwards
      January 30, 2014, 8:47 pm

      My thoughts were similar. Think about it … she gets up in the morning, and at some point in the first minutes of becoming fully awake, she remembers that it’s a work day. Is that … good news, to her? Does she say, “Oh goody!!” What’s her expression in the morning mirror? I wonder this every time a really dedicated flak stands there and deflects and blithers for, how long is it, an hour? More? I loathed Tony Snow politically but after a few sessions of being genuinely stricken with horror at his performances, I sort of felt for him. Like watching a miserable but highly competent performing animal … but then, since it’s a human, I say, “What do you think you’re doing? What do you actually see in that mirror?”

      We don’t have to read Hannah Arendt to learn about the banality of evil.

      • Pamela Olson
        January 31, 2014, 11:33 am

        My hunch after working in Washington for two years — where Career is King — is that they have pretty much convinced themselves that because they have a High Position and make a Lot of Money, they are inherently worthy human beings.

        People in Washington, whether at the bottom, the middle, or the top of the ladder, tend not to question much. Questioning leads to thinking, which leads to moral dilemmas, which leads to either misery or speaking out. Miserable people don’t last long, and neither do people who speak out.

        The crap rises to the top. The more thoughtless and convinced of your worthiness you are (no matter what you are asked to do), the more likely you are to become Big Bad Madame Spokesman. And all the little ones coming in from college look up at that shining mountain top and think, “Wow, how do I get there?”

        And the cycle begins anew.

      • just
        January 31, 2014, 11:39 am

        Pamela– I believe you. I’m amazed and thankful that Matt Lee is still there.
        Look what happened to Helen Thomas…RIP.

        “The crap rises to the top.”

        So true.

      • irishmoses
        January 31, 2014, 2:41 pm

        People in Washington, whether at the bottom, the middle, or the top of the ladder, tend not to question much. Questioning leads to thinking, which leads to moral dilemmas, which leads to either misery or speaking out. Miserable people don’t last long, and neither do people who speak out.

        Great comment. The banality of those who excuse and enable evil, those bright, ordinary, nice folks we allow to run our government bureaucracy for us.

  3. kma
    January 30, 2014, 8:29 pm

    thanks for the coverage, Annie & Adam.
    if Oxfam can get $20K for a date with an ambassador for apartheid who has a raspy voice that Hollywood thinks sounds like a pretty little model… I think Matt Lee is worth far more!!!!! I’m turned on!!!!

  4. Hostage
    January 30, 2014, 10:11 pm

    FYI, our Treasury Department directives, which legally prohibit labeling products from the West Bank and Gaza as “Made in Israel”, were the result of a policy letter from – wait for it – the US State Department. (LOL!)

    [Federal Register Volume 62, Number 50 (Friday, March 14, 1997)]
    [Notices]
    [Pages 12269-12270]
    From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [http://www.gpo.gov]
    [FR Doc No: 97-6434]

    =======================================================================
    ———————————————————————–

    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

    Customs Service
    [T.D. 97-16]

    Country of Origin Marking of Products From the West Bank and Gaza

    AGENCY: U.S. Customs Service, Department of the Treasury

    ACTION: Notice of policy.

    ———————————————————————–

    SUMMARY: This document clarifies T.D. 95-25 by notifying the public that, with respect to imported goods which are produced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, acceptable country of origin markings consist of “West Bank/Gaza,” “West Bank/Gaza Strip,” “West Bank and Gaza,” and “West Bank and Gaza Strip” as well as “West Bank,” “Gaza” or “Gaza Strip.”

    EFFECTIVE DATE: The position set forth in this document is effective for merchandise entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after March 14, 1997.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Walker, Special Classification
    and Marking Branch (202) 482-6980.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. Failure to mark an article in accordance with the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 shall result in the levy of a duty of ten percent ad valorem. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

    T.D. 95-25

    T.D. 95-25, published in the Federal Register on April 6, 1995 (60 FR 17607), discussed the proper country of origin marking for imported goods produced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Prior to the issuance of the T.D., Customs had taken the position that, in order for the country of origin marking of a good which was produced in the West Bank or Gaza Strip to be considered acceptable, the word “Israel” must appear in the marking designation. However, by letter dated October 24, 1994, the Department of State advised the Department of the Treasury
    that, in view of certain developments, principally the Israeli-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (signed on September 13, 1993), the primary purpose of 19 U.S.C. 1304 would be best served if goods produced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were permitted to be marked “West Bank” or “Gaza Strip.”

    Accordingly, as Customs has previously relied upon advice received from the Department of State in making determinations regarding the “country of origin” of a good for marking purposes, Customs notified the public in T.D. 95-25 that, unless excepted from marking, goods produced in the West Bank or Gaza Strip shall be marked as “West Bank,” “Gaza,” or “Gaza Strip.” The T.D. further stated that the country of origin markings of such goods shall not contain the words “Israel,” “Made in Israel,” “Occupied Territories-Israel,” or words of similar meaning.

    Clarification

    Subsequent to the issuance of T.D. 95-25, the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement was signed, granting additional powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority. In addition, an amendment to the United States-Israel Free Trade Area Implementation Act of 1985 (19 U.S.C. 2112 note), enacted on October 3, 1996, authorized the President to proclaim duty-free treatment to products of
    the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Such duty-free treatment was implemented by Presidential Proclamation 6955 dated November 13, 1996, effective for products of the West Bank and Gaza Strip entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after November 21, 1996.

    By letter dated January 13, 1997, the Department of State advised the Department of the Treasury that the Palestinian Authority has asked that the U.S. accept the country of origin marking “West Bank/Gaza” so as to reaffirm the territorial unity of the two areas. The Department of State further advised that it considers the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be one area for political, economic, legal and other purposes. Accordingly, the Department of State requested that Customs accept the country of origin markings “West
    [[Page 12270]]

    Bank/Gaza” and “West Bank and Gaza” for products from those areas, and that Customs continue to accept the markings “West Bank,” “Gaza” and “Gaza Strip.”
    Pursuant to the request of the Department of State, this document notifies the public that acceptable country of origin markings for goods produced in the territorial areas known as the West Bank or Gaza Strip consist of the following: “West Bank/Gaza,” “West Bank/Gaza Strip,” “West Bank and Gaza,” “West Bank and Gaza Strip,” “West Bank,” “Gaza,” and “Gaza Strip.” The position stated in this document is effective for merchandise which is entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

    Dated: March 7, 1997.
    Stuart P. Seidel,
    Assistant Commissioner, Office of Regulations and Rulings.
    [FR Doc. 97-6434 Filed 3-13-97; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 4820-02-P

    –62 FR 12269 – Country of Origin Marking of Products From the West Bank and Gaza

    • RoHa
      January 30, 2014, 10:51 pm

      You just hate poor little Israel, don’t you, Hostage?

      • Hostage
        January 31, 2014, 4:40 am

        You just hate poor little Israel, don’t you, Hostage?

        I wouldn’t say that (because I believe in the use of “guarded understatement”, i.e. “phrases that enable diplomats to say sharp things to each other – without becoming provocative or impolite.” See Sir Harold George Nicolson, Diplomacy, Harcourt 2nd ed., London, 1950, page 230)

        Let’s just say that if you put cherry tomatoes on one side of the scale and all of Israel’s misdeeds on the other . . . Did I mention that I really hate poor little cherry tomatoes?

    • Daniel Rich
      January 31, 2014, 5:59 am

      @ Hostage,

      I suddenly realize that I take much of what you do here @ MW for granted. Let me correct myself and thank you for being a clearly visible beacon in this muddied, murky fog, where misdirection can only be exposed by asking liars a question.

      Thank you for all the time and effort you put into supplying all these irrefutable facts, time and time again.

      • Hostage
        January 31, 2014, 8:48 pm

        Thank you for all the time and effort you put into supplying all these irrefutable facts, time and time again.

        You’re welcome. As usual, in this case, the truth is stranger than fiction.

      • Talkback
        February 1, 2014, 5:58 am

        Hello Hostage, this is off topic, but there was not reply button under your comment in our discussion about the power of the GA. I just wanted to tell you that I replied here: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/01/opposed-religious-fanatical.html/comment-page-1#comment-636904

      • Hostage
        February 1, 2014, 9:47 am

        I just wanted to tell you that I replied here: link to mondoweiss.net

        I think your argument fails, because you haven’t shown how dividing the territory into two states with equal civil and political rights for all, right of transit for all, under a jointly governed economic union, with no involuntary population transfer somehow violates the territorial integrity norm. No one was being denied citizenship or quiet enjoyment of the home and property in the new states or the Corpus Seperatum.

        After 25 years of riots, strikes, bloody civil war, and stalemate, adopting a transition plan for independence and a Corpus Separatum that provided protection for existing rights, indigenous provisional governments, and elections of representative assemblies – all under the administrative oversight of the UN Palestine Commission during the period from 29 November 1947 to 1 October 1948 – can’t be adequately described as a denial of self-determination.

        Bear in mind, the PLO subsequently advised both the Security Council (S/1999/334) and General Assembly (A/53/879) on 25 March 1999 that:

        For the Palestinian side, and since the strategic decision to forge a peace on the basis of coexistence, resolution 181 (II) has become acceptable. The resolution provides the legal basis for the existence of both the Jewish and the Arab States in Mandated Palestine. According to the resolution, Jerusalem should become a corpus separatum, which the Palestinian side is willing to take into consideration and to reconcile with the Palestinian position that East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territory and the capital of the Palestinian State. The Palestinian side adheres to international legitimacy and respects General Assembly resolution 181 (II), as well as Security Council resolution 242 (1967), the implementation of which is the aim of the current Middle East peace process.

        link to un.org

    • irishmoses
      January 31, 2014, 2:50 pm

      So why isn’t this being enforced? Why isn’t the 10 percent penalty (duty) being applied?

      Second, if it is a “duty” not a fine, does that mean an importer can just pay the duty and label the product as originating from whenever country it prefers (like “Israel)?

      • Hostage
        February 1, 2014, 11:23 am

        Second, if it is a “duty” not a fine, does that mean an importer can just pay the duty and label the product as originating from whenever country it prefers (like “Israel)?

        A while back we talked about everything I know concerning the 10% duty or the exportation, destruction, or marking to exempt articles from the application of the duty. The costs for customs to do that must be reimbursed to the Government by the importer. Delivery is to be withheld until items are re-marked, exported, or destroyed. The extract from U.S. Code is in our thread here:
        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/12/protesters-settlement-sodastream.html/comment-page-1#comment-619391

      • irishmoses
        February 1, 2014, 2:40 pm

        Hostage,

        Thanks. I’d forgotten what thread our discussion was on.

        How in the world do you manage to keep track of all this stuff? Do you have a special data base for it all? I’m amazed by how quickly you find your research links.

        Any tips on data/link/thread/source archiving would be appreciated.

      • Hostage
        February 1, 2014, 11:15 pm

        Do you have a special data base for it all?

        No I just recall a keyword and use the search feature provided here at Mondoweiss for use with the comment archives. On my own computers I’ve compiled notes or OCR’d extracts from sources with ABBYY and stored the information and citations in regular text files. I use the standard Linux desktop and command line utilities, like grep, afterwards to locate lines in files containing a keyword. If you’re familiar with the subjects covered by the material, it’s easy to quickly find a needle in the haystack that way.

      • Sumud
        February 1, 2014, 11:41 pm

        Irishmoses – further to Hostage’s suggestion, and if you are a little less technically inclined (like me) I can suggest a great piece of free note/database software called Evernote – can easily handle large numbers of notes, clippings of web pages and also audio and visual content. Assign keywords, you can search the content of course, and it syncs in the cloud automatically across multiple devices and platforms – Mac, PC, mobile etc.

      • Talkback
        February 2, 2014, 7:36 am

        @Hostage

        Again, no reply button beneath your comment (February 1, 2014 at 9:47 am) and the other thread has been closed.

        I think your argument fails, because you haven’t shown how dividing the territory into two states with equal civil and political rights for all, right of transit for all, under a jointly governed economic union, with no involuntary population transfer somehow violates the territorial integrity norm.

        It is your list of arguments which fails to disprove my argument that the GA has no power to make a recommendation which (1) denies a people the right of self determination or which (2) violates the territorial integrity of a country since these are the most basic principles enshrined in the UN charter.

        Now you are just shifting the point of issue and claim that I have to prove that it did in the case of Palestine. Well …

        It is obvsious that (1) the GA did not even ask the people of the STATE of Palestine how they would like to exercise THEIR right to self determination regarding the future Goverment of THEIR STATE and whose majority of citizens rejected the GA plan for (2) partitioning THEIR STATE which in itself – as any kind of secession – can’t be seen as anything else than destroying the territorial integrity of a STATE.

      • Hostage
        February 2, 2014, 8:53 am

        It is your list of arguments which fails to disprove my argument that the GA has no power to make a recommendation which (1) denies a people the right of self determination or which (2) violates the territorial integrity of a country since these are the most basic principles enshrined in the UN charter.

        You obviously need to answer the each point that I made, since one of them was a formal statement from the representative of Palestine which said that resolution 181(II) is now considered acceptable, and that it provides the legal basis for a Jewish and Arab state in Palestine. He didn’t sound like it was merely a recommendation and neither did the legal analysis of its consequences that was subsequently provided by the ICJ.

        FYI, Palestine was composed of six Ottoman administrative districts before the mandate, without violating its territorial integrity or anyone’s civil or political rights. Those six districts were also combined without violating those principles. The notion that dividing Palestine into two states in union with one another, and exercising joint government control over every vital sector, would somehow inherently violate the UN Charter is a non-sequitur. Under the UN plan, each citizen would have enjoyed equal rights and constitutional protections – including the right of access and transit in both states and Jerusalem – and would have continued to enjoy the same private and communal property rights as before. People usually conflate the completely illegal situation created by Israel with the implementation of the UN plan.

        I pointed out the ICJ rulings which explain that the General Assembly has the explicit power under Article 18 of the Charter to approve decisions regarding the operation of the trusteeship system, including the assumption of direct administration of any non-self-governing territory by the UN organization itself. That’s exactly what the UN Palestine Commission was charged to do under the terms of the transition plan. There was a definite transition period that began on 29 November 1947. The UN Commission was responsible for appointing the provisional governments; supervising the formation of their militias; holding elections for the Constituent Assemblies; supervising the adoption of democratic constitutions; transfer of power to the newly independent states; and termination of the mandate and international tutelage no later than 1 October 1948.

        The General Assembly cited resolution 181(II) and said it was relevant:

        Recalling relevant General Assembly resolutions, including resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, which partitioned mandated Palestine into two States, one Arab and one Jewish,

        It then asked for an advisory opinion from the ICJ about the legal consequences of all of the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly:

        What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?

        FYI, the Court did not find that it had violated the UN Charter, the right of self-determination, or the territorial integrity of Palestine. Frankly it doesn’t sound like you’ve read the terms regarding the legal relationship between the two states that was spelled-out in the resolution very carefully, or the definition of self-determination in the Declaration Granting Independence to Colonial Peoples, and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, since 181(II) doesn’t actually violate any of the principles you’ve mentioned.

  5. eljay
    January 30, 2014, 10:21 pm

    QUESTION: The “Jewish State” has declared that one plus one equals three. What is our government’s position on this?

    MS. PSAKI: That is correct.

    QUESTION: What is correct? That one plus one equals three?

    MS. PSAKI: Yes.

    QUESTION: But it equals two.

    MS. PSAKI: I won’t get into hypotheticals about what one plus one may or may not equal but I think we all want to avoid potentially anti-Semitic sums.

    • piotr
      January 31, 2014, 12:11 am

      eljay, one can clearly tell your imitation from the genuine psakisms. The concept of doublespeak hardly captures the situation when the official policy makes no sense and the task of the spokesperson is to dissuade any intimation that it could make sense.

      From that point of view, the transcript is like a necklace of pears, each shining brightly with arrant nonsense. Yet, sometimes a whiff or two of some intension is conveyed. I think that two whiffs are almost clear:

      A. Dennis Rodman and Scarlett Johansson are in “different categories” because … Dennis Rodman is a private citizen. Does it mean that Scarlett is a princess of royal blood, or that she has some other hitherto unknown official capacity? I read it twice more to figure what Psaki could mean, and I guess I am catching some meaning: “I think we’ve been clear on Dennis Rodman. He’s a private citizen.” When the government of U.S. of A. goes out of the limb to be clear, which is highly unusual, we can see that Dennis is “special”, while Scarlett is “normal” as no attempt is made to say something clear.

      B. “Well, I think provocative rhetoric has no place in the region [Min. Steinitz declared that President Abbas is the most anti-Semitic leader, and this is the answer to that], but also there’s no question that comments from either side that seek to provoke tensions are unhelpful. At the same time, as you mentioned, this has happened a bit and we take it as it comes, and both sides remain committed to the negotiations moving forward.”

      … this has happened a bit … sound like the Administration is putting this event into the zone of hazy realization that something untoward is happening. You need to read about fuzzy logic to understand Psaki here. In a more traditional logic we assume that individual basic statements are true or false, but in fuzzy logic we can give them any value between 0 (no, no, no!) and 1 (1000% yes!). Clearly, in their decision making process members of the Administration collect various basic individual statement and assign such values.

      So one can get impression that the value of “Dennis Rodman is a prince” is 0 (zero), “Scarlett Johansen is a princess” is 0.5 (no clarification yet that she is not) and “Minister Steinitz is a fanatic loudmouth” is 0.2.

      • Walker
        January 31, 2014, 10:25 am

        the transcript is like a necklace of pears

        Now that’s an arresting image.

      • piotr
        January 31, 2014, 3:11 pm

        All-mighty spell checker cannot be wrong! That said, the sentence has to be corrected from “each shining brightly with arrant nonsense” to “each oozing with …”. Mm-hmm.

    • Talkback
      February 1, 2014, 6:00 am

      Thank G-d, you didn’t use Arabic numerals in your comment, eljay.

      • eljay
        February 3, 2014, 9:38 am

        >> Thank G-d, you didn’t use Arabic numerals in your comment, eljay.

        Arabic numerals aren’t just anti-Semitic – they’re practically an existential threat! 8-o

  6. adele
    January 31, 2014, 12:02 am

    The exchange reminds me of Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=airT-m9LcoY

    In fact, I propose that the State Dept forgoes the daily press conferences and just shows this youtube clip instead :-)

  7. Philip Munger
    January 31, 2014, 1:30 am

    I almost feel inspired to write an opera on the exchanges between Matt Lee and Jen Psaki. I think they like each other, or are at least frenemies. They’ve already written the libretto for the first act and beginning of the second themselves.

    I’d write Jen as a mezzo, Matt as a baritone. In the 2nd act, they will suddenly fall madly, uncontrollably in love. But in the 3rd act ……..?

    Any thoughts?

    • Stephen Shenfield
      January 31, 2014, 7:56 am

      I’m not going to get ahead of where we are in the process. I couldn’t discern any move from a first act to a second. In the first act Jen says as many words as she can while saying nothing and Matt tries to trick her into saying something — but as she is well trained in the art of saying nothing he fails over and over again. This can go on forever, or at least until one of the combatants collapses of exhaustion or frustration. That is likely to be Matt. Jen is then declared the winner — still in the first act. But she is only “doing her job” and Matt surely understands that.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2014, 8:34 am

        American global power is weakening.
        Zionism doesn’t get this.
        70 signatures on a napkin aren’t enough any more.

        Iraq , baby. You don’t want to get what you really want (this should be in the Torah).

      • MHughes976
        January 31, 2014, 11:21 am

        You couldn’t have Jen surrounded by a ring of fire (or seemingly impenetrable contradictions) from which Matt rescues her by wearing a magical ring which reveals everything for what it really is?

  8. Daniel Rich
    January 31, 2014, 5:53 am

    @ Philip Munger,

    Q: Any thoughts?

    R: In the 3rd act, whilst taking an selfie to instantly upload to Instagram, both Jen and Matt get accidentally run over by a Bear [a fortified carterpillar -sic- on steroids] that was backing up and c0uldn’t see them, because it was excavating a moat around a Palestinian dwelling. Fortunately the entire scene is captured by James Miller who then turns around and asks Tom Hurndall to be a runner and deliver the digital tape ASAP to the ICC. The rest is history…

    Curtain falls and audience goes ape.

    RIP also, Corrie Rachel.

    • Philip Munger
      January 31, 2014, 4:39 pm

      I wrote about Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall and the helldozers already – over ten years ago, and with their familys’ permission. Not an opera but a tragic cantata.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1be2lxV-Qo

      Third act of this Psaki-Lee opera needs to happen somewhere in DC.

      • just
        January 31, 2014, 6:17 pm

        It could happen at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool… picture it, a clear and cloudless day… something like the beautiful morning of 9/11. They are quiet and Jen and Matt look away from one another and into the pool. Matt smiles. Jen screams with an ultra perfect high C (in wounded and tragic operatic tradition) when she sees her face and many lies in her reflection. Matt takes her for a walk, then buys her a latte (even though she longs for a sodastream), he tells her the truth will set her free……the end.

        (he could also opt to take her to the closest exorcist– Father Damien Karras fell down the steps and died in Georgetown, but I am quite sure that D.C. has others working full time– Congress needs their attention.)

      • Philip Munger
        February 1, 2014, 1:23 am

        I DO like your idea of the opera ending as she walks into the exorcist’s office, hoping to be freed of the delusions eating away at her soul.

        Thanks for the ideas and inspiration, friends.

  9. HarryLaw
    January 31, 2014, 6:55 am

    Ms. Psaki, “Obviously, this is a company based in Israel.” WRONG, this company is based in the West Bank, under World Trade Organization and European Union country of origin rules, which are consistent with the UK rules of origin as set out in the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 section 36… Country of Origin.
    [1] For the purposes of this Act goods shall be deemed to have been manufactured or produced in the country in which they last underwent a treatment or process resulting in a substantial change.
    Therefore, since over 95% of the product was manufactured in the West Bank, [now Palestine] its country of Origin is not Israel, the military commander has breached his duties as the administrator of the occupied territories in many ways.
    [1] Allowing the factory to be set up in the first place by granting concessions, which should only be granted [1] for the benefit of the protected Palestinian population or [2] For military needs, obviously both criteria have not been met, in breach of Article 49.6 of the Geneva Conventions, many other aspects of customary International law have been breached, many of which are also grave war crimes. It simply will not do for Ms. Psaki to say they are illegitimate, or for her boss to call them unhelpful, the correct term, as set out in all the International conventions is WAR CRIMES.

  10. seafoid
    January 31, 2014, 7:14 am

    Zionism is SUCH toast.

    Have a look at this first .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrvK01XAvF8

    Then this – his meme book

    http://samsonblinded.org/

    “chapters
    Theory
    Cruel measures are sometimes the kindest
    Machiavelli: goodness and cruelty
    Realism, not superficial morality
    No easy way out for Israel
    Israel must create a credible threat, act brutally
    Arab mentality and discontent
    Peaceful relations with Arabs are possible for Israel
    The other Arabs do not care about the Palestinians
    Arab countries have no reason to make peace with Israel
    Israeli territory is not worth lives, but Israel has no choice
    Israel should restrict democracy
    No inherent right to a state, no inviolable state
    No historical right to Israel or Palestine
    The feasibility of Israel’ conquering the Arab states
    Making Arabs agree to peace with Israel

    Objectives of Peace
    Israel does not need peace with Arabs
    Israel can sustain neither modern war nor a credible threat
    An end of belligerence is imperative
    The creation of a Palestinian state would not bring Israel peace
    No Palestinian state without a pan-Islamic peace agreement with Israel

    Israel should not vacillate
    Israeli vacillation provokes Muslims
    Israeli vacillation is costly
    Piecemeal compromises blur Israeli objectives
    The fallacy of Israel’s minor concessions to Arabs
    Israel must abandon half-measures
    Delaying the solution makes the Israeli-Palestinian problem chronic and harder to cure
    Does Israel want economic and social progress in Arab countries?
    Israel must determine war strategy and adhere to it

    Determine Israeli Territorial Objectives
    What area do the Israelis want?
    Why does Israel need the Palestinian territories?
    The possibility of Israel’ ceding the Palestinian territories
    Returning the Palestinian territories might not lead to normalizing Arab-Israeli relations
    Israeli perceptions of Arab nationalism are exaggerated
    Annexation of Arab lands will not necessarily impede Israeli-Arab peace
    A culturally attractive Israel could annex the Palestinian territories more easily
    Israel as Middle Eastern empire
    Israel should conquer only militarily weak, economically viable Muslim states
    Israel may annex foreign land
    Israel can win tolerance of foreigners to annexation
    Annexation tactics in Palestine, expansion from a security belt
    Israeli threat of expansion would bring peace

    Proper War Strategy for Israel
    Hiring foreign infantry for Israel Defense Forces
    Harsh measures, not limited victory against Israel’s Arab enemies
    Israel must use chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons
    Israel should not let potentially hostile Islamic regimes build Chemical Biological Nuclear arsenals
    Humane war is costly and ineffective
    Israel must abandon the pretense of humane war with Arabs
    Israel cannot count on deterring Arabs
    Israel can use large Israel Defense Forces for conquests in the Middle East and Africa
    Force Arab disarmament and turn Arab states into Israeli protectorates
    Minimize the involvement of Israel Defense Forces infantry in the Middle East conflicts
    Non-military harassment of Israel’s Islamic enemies
    Cruelty to Arab prisoners in Israel
    Israel miscalculated the Sinai treaty
    Israeli ideological warfare against hostile Muslims

    Counteracting terrorist warfare against Israel
    Islamic terrorism is a war like any other
    Islamic terrorists justifiably target Israeli civilians
    Jews have historically engaged in terrorism
    Palestinian terrorists should be respected as warriors
    Attack anti-Israeli Islamic terrorist bases
    Attack Muslim governments and civilians who support Islamic terrorists
    Attack Arab countries in response to Islamic terrorist acts against Israel
    Israel should retaliate against Muslim civilians for Islamic terrorist attacks
    Destroy Arab oil infrastructure in retaliation for Islamic terrorism
    Harsh actions are less painful
    Strike the Muslim population to quash Islamic terrorists
    Define acceptable cruelty for anti-Israeli acts formally
    Persecute the families of Palestinian terrorists
    Israel lost Lebanon and Russia – Afghanistan because of restraint toward civilians
    Destroy the Islamic terrorists’ support base among Muslims
    Abandon formalities; rely on preemption against anti-Israeli Palestinian terrorists
    Collective liability for terrorism
    Israel may act by stealth against Islamic terrorists
    Get the Arabs to fight for the Israeli objective of counterterrorism
    Acceding to Palestinian terrorist demands does not lead to Arab-Israeli peace
    Formal Arab-Israeli peace might not end Islamic terrorism
    Israel should not negotiate with Islamic terrorists
    Political negotiations by Israel with Islamic terrorist groups are possible
    Terrorism’s future is bright
    Riot control on Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories
    Israel must avoid urban combat with Islamic terrorists
    Practical counter-terror measures
    Influence of counterterrorism on freedom in Israel
    Israel must deal with WMD terrorism reasonably

    Israeli-Arab Policy
    The clash of Jewish European and Arab mentalities
    A peaceful solution to Israeli-Arab war must accommodate the Arab mentality
    Israelis should respect Arabs and demand respect from them
    Divide the Arabs
    Israelis may sabotage Arab oil exports

    Israel’s policy toward Palestine and Israeli Arabs
    Only Israel’s cruelty can instill fear in poor Palestinian people
    Israel has no interest in making Palestinians rich
    Israel doesn’t need to promote wealth in Palestine
    A Palestinian state offers benefits to Israel
    Necessary cruel steps to Israeli annexation of Palestine
    Downgrade Israeli Arabs’ citizen rights
    The usefulness of sharia for Israeli dealings with Palestinians
    Israel may create the Palestinian state in Jordan ”

    and 47 years of YESHA – relentless

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lkKZ4G3j98

    And models

    Acceptable models

    Clearly stated and assumed assumptions
    Clear on idealisations and simplifications
    Transparent on which effects are neglected
    All relevant risk factors taken into account
    The model relies not purely on historical data but aims to model the future risks using theory, scenarios, expert opinion
    The model is tested
    The model is regularly challenged and compared against industry best practice

    Unacceptable models

    Theory is misapplied
    Pure stats, no explanation
    Hidden and unclear assumptions
    Too many simplifications
    The model is not tested against the real world
    Inappropriate or stale parameters
    The model is not sufficiently understood within the company

    Where you come from is gone
    Where you thought you were going is no longer there
    Where you are is no good unless you get out of there

    Khalaas, ya bash mohandis.

  11. Talkback
    January 31, 2014, 8:08 am

    A perfect example of how Zionism not only subverts international law but also rationality.

  12. just
    January 31, 2014, 9:01 am

    Holy S************!

    “Roughly three-quarters of Jewish settlers in the West Bank would be included in redrawn Israeli borders envisioned under U.S.-backed peace negotiations, the lead U.S. envoy told American Jewish leaders on Thursday.

    The settlement estimate was among details of a closely held plan to frame a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians this year, a participant in the conversation between Jewish leaders and U.S. envoy Martin Indyk said.

    The participant and another person familiar with the conversation spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither the Israeli nor Palestinian leaders have yet agreed to the U.S. proposals for final talks.

    Indyk also told the group that a final peace treaty could provide for compensation to Jews forced out of Arab countries after the founding of Israel in 1948. That would give descendants of those refugees living in Israel a potential financial stake in a deal long assumed to also provide compensation for Arabs who left land in what is now Israel.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/peace-plan-would-allow-75-percent-of-jewish-settlers-to-remain-in-west-bank-envoy-says/2014/01/30/d13cb4e0-89f7-11e3-916e-e01534b1e132_story.html?hpid=z4

    • Hostage
      January 31, 2014, 9:37 am

      neither the Israeli nor Palestinian leaders have yet agreed to the U.S. proposals for final talks.

      They don’t have to agree to the proposals, because Indyk is letting them “register reservations”, which in-turn means that the Palestinians have not agreed to any swaps or to any Israelis staying in Palestine, and probably will never agree to do so. See: Senior Palestinian official: If reports about contents of Kerry’s framework deal are true, there’s no deal: If NY Times report about U.S. secretary of state’s framework agreement is true, there’s no possibility of talks, says official. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.571689

      Here is how Haaretz describes Indyk speaking on behalf of Netanyahu and Abbas as if they have already agreed to his proposals:

      The Obama administration will soon present a framework for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that the sides may accept with reservations as a basis for a final deal by year’s end, the top U.S. negotiator told Jewish leaders.

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would be expected to accept the agreement, with reservations, as the basis of continued negotiations, Indyk apparently said.

      Making it a U.S.-drafted framework permitted the leaders to distance themselves from politically sensitive issues, Indyk said. “There may be things we need to say because they can’t say them yet,” he said, according to the notes of one participant.

      http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.571699

      Bennet has already told Netanyahu that his party will withdraw from the coalition if Kerry’s framework agreement on creating a Palestinian State is ever placed on the cabinet agenda for discussion. See “Sources: Bennett Ready to Dump Netanyahu Over Withdrawals: Naftali Bennett is ready to quit if the government adopts a framework that would have Israel withdraw from land, Jewish Home sources say” http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/176101#.UuuzQfgoaVs

      • just
        January 31, 2014, 10:16 am

        Many thanks, Hostage.

        (My skin is still crawling as a result of Indyk and Co.)

        And, who are these “Jewish leaders”?

    • seafoid
      January 31, 2014, 10:28 am

      “Roughly three-quarters of Jewish settlers in the West Bank would be included in redrawn Israeli borders envisioned under U.S.-backed peace negotiations, the lead U.S. envoy told American Jewish leaders on Thursday.”

      Never going to happen. American Jewish leaders have betrayed Judaism and the bill is coming.

  13. Shmuel
    January 31, 2014, 11:58 am

    What another “private citizen” (albeit not a citizen of the US) has to say about boycotts against the settlements and Israel in general:

    The boycott is first of all a kind of uprising against the colonialism and apartheid that dominate the territories. The Europeans are more familiar with the situation than are the Americans, because they really want to learn about, and are trying to understand, the extreme right-wing ultranationalist viewpoint that shapes Israeli politics. The Europeans have also learned lessons from their colonialist past and the left is ashamed of it, just as it is ashamed of anti-Semitism. …

    But that opinion is not limited to the European left: Neo-liberal German Chancellor Angela Merkel also believes that all human beings have a right to freedom. …

    Refusal to cooperate with the occupation is reflected in the economic and cultural boycott against the Israeli settlers’ colony. Among the vast majority of European public opinion the boycott is seen as a justified instrument of pressure to liberate the Palestinians. This opinion is shared by people from the entire political spectrum, including those who despise anti-Semitism and support Israeli wholeheartedly. …

    [T]rampling the rights of the Palestinians in the name of our exclusive right to the country and by dint of a divine decree is an ineradicable stain on Jewish history. Anyone who becomes entrenched in these views will end up bringing about the international ostracism of all of Israel, and if that happens, it won’t be anti-Semitism.

    —Zeev Sterhnell
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.571432

    • just
      January 31, 2014, 12:31 pm

      That is one fine comment! Great points, especially this:

      “[T]rampling the rights of the Palestinians in the name of our exclusive right to the country and by dint of a divine decree is an ineradicable stain on Jewish history. Anyone who becomes entrenched in these views will end up bringing about the international ostracism of all of Israel, and if that happens, it won’t be anti-Semitism.”

      It does much harm, indeed.

  14. Shmuel
    January 31, 2014, 12:32 pm

    And I think that Ms. Psaki is “delegitimizing Israel” just by calling the settlements illegitimate ;-)

    • Ellen
      January 31, 2014, 1:54 pm

      Shmuel! You said it perfectly! This is what I thought when reading that exchange and wondered why Lee did not point that out to her.

      If the U S position is that the settlements are illegitimate, this falls into delegitimization of Israel.

      So what is it?

      • kma
        January 31, 2014, 7:38 pm

        yes, the illegal bastard settlements are illegitimate, and the state dept now must change its tune so it does not “de-legitimate” Israel. I believe that in the state of New York, it is soon to be illegal to “de-legitimate” Israel, and public funding must be cut off immediately to anyone speaking the truth.
        most likely, the state dept will stand by the apartheid, as it usually does. but the purpose of BDS is becoming far more visible to the mainstream.

  15. James Canning
    January 31, 2014, 2:50 pm

    Given the unrelenting pressure of the Israel lobby on the State Dept., all references by it to the illegality of the Jewish colonies in the West Bank are welcome.

  16. Annie Robbins
    February 3, 2014, 4:17 pm

    i think this daily press briefing and the one the next day, impacted kerry’s decision to utter the word boycott in his press briefing a couple days later. kudos to the reporters who kept up the heat.

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