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Palestinians have to suck it up for segregated train lines and 4000 new settlements –reporters grill State Dep’t

Israel/Palestine
on 45 Comments

Here’s yesterday’s press briefing at the State Department. If you watch the first 20 minutes of the video, you’ll see the degree to which Matt Lee’s anger/skepticism about Israeli settlements is reflected by several other reporters, notably Rosalind Jordan of Al Jazeera English, who says the administration has adopted a “softer take” on settlements.

Jordan bores in on the apartheid issue, saying:

When you have talk of train lines being brought through to connect one settlement with another and not allowing people who live in between to board them, it… makes it more difficult for the Palestinians to say to their side you have to be patient, we’re trying to make this work–

While Matt Lee starts out by showing that the Israelis have announced 4000 new settlements since the start of talks and the Palestinians have just “sucked it up.” Lee also riffs off of John Kerry’s statement that the settlements are “illegitimate.” He looked up the word and said it means they are either a, born out of wedlock or b, illegal.

Lee opened the briefing yesterday, with a sharp rundown of all the settlement activity since the announcement of talks.

Matt Lee: Since the peace talks began here back on the 30th, the Israelis – this is just the latest move in this direction – on August 4th they expanded subsidies to West Bank settlements; on August 8th they announced another thousand new apartments in the West Bank; on August 11th the Housing Minister announced what you talked about yesterday, 1,187 West Bank apartments and 800 East Jerusalem, and then today 900 new apartments in East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians meanwhile don’t seem to have done anything except kind of sucked it up on this, and I’m just wondering if you view – is this evidence of Israel’s good faith – what you talked about yesterday when you said both sides were at the table in good faith?

MS. Marie HARF: Well, we still believe that, Matt, that both sides are at the negotiating table in good faith here, because they believe in the importance of the peace process….

MS. HARF: Well, those are your words. Those aren’t mine.

Lee: Well, what is it when you tell them not to do something and they do it? … Is that not – that’s either ignoring —

MS. HARF: …I said we have serious concerns… I said this yesterday that we had… serious concerns with the announcements that we were talking about yesterday.

Lee: So you’re not necessarily – you have serious concerns but you’re not opposed to them?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to – and again, we can play the word game again today, but I’m not going to further describe our —

QUESTION: No, it’s not a word game because —

MS. HARF: — position on this announcement. Let me finish for a second, Matt. I’m not going to further describe our position on this other than…. to say we have serious concerns.

Lee: But it’s not a word game. These things have actual consequences … on the ground.

MS. HARF: Absolutely. Which is why our team is there negotiating with both sides exactly because they have incredibly serious consequences. You’re right.

Lee: So does it bother you at all that the Israelis do not seem to be listening to you?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to discuss whether or not something bothers us. I’m going to say that we have serious concerns with the recent announcement. We’ve made those concerns known…

Question: would you explain to me – the Secretary of State said that all settlements were illegitimate. What is the difference between illegitimate and illegal, in your parlance, in your explanation?

MS. HARF: Well, our – the Secretary – our position is clear and has not changed that we do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity. That is our policy. I can say it every day but it has in no way changed…

QUESTION: Did anyone ask him – I did ask it yesterday, and again, has the U.S. told Israel to stop?

MS. HARF: I am not going to further outline what our diplomatic communications are with the Israeli Government on this issue other than to say yesterday that we had serious concerns with the latest announcement and made that known to the government…

Rosalind Jordan: The Secretary said he was trying to get in touch with the Prime Minister. Did he make that phone call, and what did he tell the Prime Minister?

MS. HARF: I believe he did. Let me double-check with the traveling party on that. I was just on the phone with them before I came down here, but I want to get the latest information. I believe it happened, but let me just double-check on that and we can get it for you after the briefing.

Jordan: Are you going to come back and tell us that you’re not able to say because it’s part of diplomatic discussions because —

MS. HARF: I don’t know what I’m going to come back to you and say. If I can read it out for you, I will. …

Jordan: And then looking at the larger stance of the Obama Administration in dealing with Israel on this issue, at first there was a very hard line going back to almost the moment when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, very critical of the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, whether or not it was inside Jerusalem. And now there seems to be this softer take. Is the U.S. essentially throwing up its hands and assuming that Israel is going to build settlements even though doing so may impede the ability of establishing a fully contiguous independent Palestinian state?

MS. HARF: I would in no way, I think, characterize it like that. I’m not going to do a history lesson about where we’ve been for the last five years, but… we continue to have conversations with the Israeli Government about all of these issues…

Jordan: But look, there was this nine-month-long moratorium that Netanyahu put in going into 2010. He allowed that moratorium to expire not three weeks after the start of renewed peace talks here at the State Department. The Palestinians threw up their hands and said if this is continuing, we’re not going to be at the table. That same risk exists right now. Is the Obama Administration going to continue essentially spinning its wheels on this matter if it does not convince Israel to refrain from expanding these settlements?

MS. HARF: …There’s a lot of history about why this hasn’t worked in the past, but we are focused on the fact that both sides sit down at the table and say this is important, it’s imperative, it’s the right time, our leaders are committed to it, and so we are going to continue working with you on this to get to a better place.

Jordan: But when we talk about settlements, we’re not talking about something in the abstract. We’re talking about people bringing their families in, establishing roots, establishing communities. Those are very difficult to dismantle with each passing day, as you noted.

MS. HARF: All of the issues involved with Middle East peace are difficult.

Jordan: But when you have this and when you have talk of train lines being brought through to connect one settlement with another and not allowing people who live in between to board them, it does raise the difficulty and makes it more difficult for the Palestinians to say to their side you have to be patient, we’re trying to make this work, so that we can get what we have been fighting for for 30 years. Is the U.S. throwing up its hands on settlements before this process even gets started?

MS. HARF: No. In no way are we throwing up our hands on settlements….

Lee: All right. On Said’s question about illegitimate and what it means, I want to leave apart the definition because there’s only two definitions of it. One is being born outside of wedlock and the other is illegal. So assuming that you don’t mean that it’s born outside of wedlock, you mean it’s illegal. But I don’t want to focus on that. I want to focus on the continued part of this; continued settlement activity is illegitimate. What about prior settlement activity? Is that also illegitimate?

MS. HARF: …I’m not going to make a broad sweeping generalization from here about prior settlement activity…

Lee: Do you know when the cutoff is between legitimate and illegitimate? Or is it only continued, i.e. settlement activity in the future that is illegitimate, and once it’s built… it’s not illegitimate? Do you see what I’m —

MS. HARF: No, I understand your question.

Lee: The problem with it is… is that nothing is actually illegitimate. It’s always pushed into the future. So I want to know when it is that you think the illegitimacy of settlements began.

MS. HARF: Okay. I can – I will take that question.

Lee: Did it begin at – in ‘67 or is there some stuff that is okay and that should be off the table in terms of swaps, stuff that Israel should have claimed to before the negotiations come to an end?

MS. HARF: …we know this is a very delicate issue. It’s one that’s being discussed right now, and I wouldn’t want to get ahead of discussions on the ground.

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45 Responses

  1. ramzijaber
    ramzijaber
    August 14, 2013, 2:26 pm

    Why is this is so painful to Harf? Simple questions, really. I think English is her third language ;-)))) or maybe she’s aipac or maybe afraid of aipac when she goes in the parking lot to get into her car. LOL.

  2. eljay
    eljay
    August 14, 2013, 2:35 pm

    I often wonder why anyone bothers with these White House press conferences. The government mouthpieces never directly and honestly answer the questions that are posed to them.

    Q. “Are you a living being?”
    A. “What I can tell you is that we support the idea that living is a positive state of being.”

    Q. “Is the sky blue?”
    A. “That is an interesting point, but I’m not at liberty to address the matter at this time.”

    Q. “What is your name?”
    A. “Yes, thank you. Next question…?”

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      August 14, 2013, 3:22 pm

      “I often wonder why anyone bothers with these White House press conferences. The government mouthpieces never directly and honestly answer the questions that are posed to them.”

      The politicians and puppets do it because they know that they can get the reporters in there and they get to put out the propaganda they want. They give non-answer answers to the questioning because that simply doesn’t translate into good sound bites or clear copy, so they are willing to do the dance.

      The reporters are fools who haven’t gotten the memo that they’re not important in the running of the society. They all have dreams about the 10 minutes when Woodward and Bernstein actually made a difference in the world, but haven’t learned to open their eyes and see that their entire industry has been reduced to note-takers for the MIC, 1%ers and the others who stole this country.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      August 14, 2013, 9:03 pm

      Nailed it, eljay.

      To add insult to injury, these people are paid fat salaries for this sort of fudging and obfuscation. We philosophers, logicians, and grammarians, who dedicate ourselves to precision and clarity*, get paid nugatory sums when we get paid at all.

      (*This includes eschewing the ambiguity created by putting a comma after a subject clause.)

      • Katie Miranda
        Katie Miranda
        August 14, 2013, 10:36 pm

        I wonder what the requirements are for this position.

    • Katie Miranda
      Katie Miranda
      August 14, 2013, 10:35 pm

      Q. Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream ?
      A. We don’t like to take a position on this subject as we’re trying to promote the uniqueness of both flavors.

      Q. But you must have a personal preference, right ?
      A. My personal preference isn’t relevant to this press conference.

  3. FreddyV
    FreddyV
    August 14, 2013, 2:41 pm

    Marie Harf is hot!!!!

    I particularly loved watching Matt Lee handing her gorgeous arse to her. ;)

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      August 14, 2013, 4:13 pm

      Hot?
      Greasy hair and too-big-glasses and a corrupt moral?

      • FreddyV
        FreddyV
        August 14, 2013, 4:25 pm

        Opticians, Head And Shoulders and Matt Lee will be sure to cure those ailments!

  4. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    August 14, 2013, 4:13 pm

    Why are these state dept. spokepersons ALWAYS so bad in arguing and so badly prepared?
    Besides US refusal to even remotely criticize Israel is pathetic. How could these people live with themselves?

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      August 14, 2013, 4:53 pm

      “Why are these state dept. spokepersons ALWAYS so bad in arguing and so badly prepared?”

      Because their goal is not to pursuade or even cogently to assert a point; it’s to present the State Dept.’s position in as tepid and uninteresting a manner as possible. The purpose for that is to prevent the statement from appearing in the media, lest the people actually take an interest in the evils that the Lobby is forcing the government to engage in.

    • eljay
      eljay
      August 14, 2013, 6:16 pm

      >> Why are these state dept. spokepersons ALWAYS so bad in arguing and so badly prepared?

      I find that they’re very well prepared: They always manage to say a lot without saying anything…unless they specifically want to say something, in which case they’ll get their message out very clearly regardless of what questions are actually being put to them.

  5. Allison Deger
    Allison Deger
    August 14, 2013, 4:21 pm

    Whoa, notice in the first minutes before the transcript picks up Lee says something like, “well technically they are not settlements, it’s East Jerusalem.” Then Harf says, “yes that’s correct.”

    • AlGhorear
      AlGhorear
      August 14, 2013, 6:56 pm

      “Whoa, notice in the first minutes before the transcript picks up Lee says something like, “well technically they are not settlements, it’s East Jerusalem.” Then Harf says, “yes that’s correct.”

      Good catch, Allison. It’s not surprising that Marie Harf would say Israel’s theft of land and building of Jewish-only housing in East Jerusalem is not settlement activity, but it’s shocking that Matt Lee would agree and in fact put it out there in the first place. That’s a major disappointment.

      • just
        just
        August 14, 2013, 7:28 pm

        Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

        (I might just be inclined to cut Matt a bit of slack…..he was engaging Harf and trying to get to the truth. Or perhaps it was an “oops”.)

        Subsequently, he did hit hard.

      • Allison Deger
        Allison Deger
        August 14, 2013, 9:25 pm

        I’m more interested in Harf than Lee, as her’s represents the U.S. government and she’s very careful with her wording. Just the day before at a State Dept. press briefing she said that the U.S. has not changed its policy on settlements…so by that standard East Jerusalem should be included in the category of “settlement.” But then again, she’ll state that “future” settlement construction is “illegitimate” and refuse to qualify the status of “previous” settlement construction.

      • just
        just
        August 14, 2013, 9:38 pm

        Thanks, Allison. I agree with you.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 14, 2013, 11:56 pm

        Allison Deger:

        she’ll state that “future” settlement construction is “illegitimate” and refuse to qualify the status of “previous” settlement construction.

        Because the real U.S. position regarding negotiations is that Israel will keep most/all of the settlement blocs. Period. No secret here.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        August 15, 2013, 4:09 am

        @ Allison Deger
        I think Carter was the last POTUS who specifically stated in no uncertain terms that all the settlements were illegal. Reagan ignored the legal status of the settlements completely.

  6. just
    just
    August 14, 2013, 4:35 pm

    umm.

    Before Harf “moved” on to State:

    “Media Spokesperson, Central Intelligence Agency

    Marie E. Harf is a Media Spokesperson for the Central Intelligence Agency, a position she has held since June 2008. Ms. Harf is part of the small team that develops the Agency’s media strategy and responds to queries from reporters on a wide range of national security and intelligence topics. She staffs senior Agency officials at public appearances, helps prepare them for press interviews, and organizes CIA-hosted media events.

    Ms. Harf began her career at the CIA in the Directorate of Intelligence, where she was an analyst on Middle East leadership issues from March 2006 until June 2008. In this role, she produced finished intelligence products — including for the President’s Daily Brief — on top foreign policy priorities, providing both insight and context while identifying risks and opportunities for the United States. She also authored in-depth assessments of foreign leaders, which were shared with U.S. officials before bilateral and multilateral meetings.

    Ms. Harf received her Master’s Degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, where her thesis dealt with regime stability in Saudi Arabia. She graduated with honors from Indiana University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with concentrations in Russian and Eastern European Studies and Jewish Studies. Ms. Harf is a native of Granville, Ohio, and a staunch Ohio State Buckeye football fan.”

    http://www.cnas.org/node/5044

    She also worked on the President’s re-election……………

  7. August 14, 2013, 4:56 pm

    What is going on? What 4000 settlements? 4000 settlements? Do you read what you write? It is not settlements but homes amd not 4000 but 1,187 and out of these 793 in Jerusalem and finally it announcing tenders not building.

    And trains? What trains? Have you ever been here? There are no train lines anywhere close. The train line from TelAviv to Jerusalem is only now being under construction and will be ready (in plans) by 2018. There is a very old Turkish line which is not used anymore.

    I get this familiar feeling from my Russian yout – can’t trust anything printed. If something can be distorted it will.

    • just
      just
      August 14, 2013, 5:19 pm

      “Israeli government confirms plan for segregated settler train system
      …Tuesday February 28, 2012 09:32……

      On Monday, Israeli officials announced their intention to construct a train system for Israeli settlers living in violation of international law in the West Bank.”

      http://www.imemc.org/article/63069

      • just
        just
        August 14, 2013, 5:24 pm

        “But why travel so far? It’s clear that Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz likes to play with trains, and the Yesha Council of settlements likes to play with trains, and one can assume that Danny Danon and Ofir Akunis would jump happily on the train from Hebron to Jerusalem. After millions have been spilled on bypass roads for the settlers’ convenience, the government is now readying to lay a track for every settler.

        The timing of the approval is critical. Facing the European Union bombshell blocking business with the territories and the siege by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the hawkish wings of Likud and Habayit Hayehudi are planning an infrastructure bomb. After the rail lines, we will likely get new airports and an air taxi service to fly the settlers of Itamar to Kiryat Arba.

        The rail project, which has been in development for several years and sucked up several million shekels from the budget, appears, at first glance, to be the flagship plan for a future annexation. After all, what country declares that it intends to invest billions in territory not under its sovereignty? ”

        http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.538478

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        August 15, 2013, 10:19 am

        “On Monday, Israeli officials announced their intention to construct a train system for Israeli settlers living in violation of international law in the West Bank.”

        They end up destrying it so the Palestinians can’t enjoy it.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      August 14, 2013, 6:20 pm

      “It is not settlements but homes ”

      Not homes; squats for thieves.

    • amigo
      amigo
      August 14, 2013, 7:33 pm

      fnlevit.

      Are you by any chance one of Nietanyahu,s covert diplomats.

      You seem ill prepared for a life as a professional Hasbarist.Suggest you go back and study another year or two.

  8. just
    just
    August 14, 2013, 5:37 pm

    “EU official says U.S. quietly supporting settlement sanctions
    All EU member states supported new settlement sanctions, Israeli ambassador was told during meeting on crisis between EU, Israel.
    By Barak Ravid | 02:31 14.08.13 |

    A senior European Union official told an Israeli diplomat last week that the United States is quietly supporting new EU sanctions against the settlements. ”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.541352

    Why all the hush- hush?

  9. giladg
    giladg
    August 14, 2013, 5:58 pm

    Gilo, in Jerusalem, is never going to be given to the Palestinians and will remain in Israel. Build 4, or 4000, or 40,000 new units in Gilo and this will continue to have zero impact on reaching a peace deal. So stop being disingenuous Philip. It’s time for you to stop drinking the Barghouti and Ashrawi CoolAid.

    • just
      just
      August 14, 2013, 6:09 pm

      You just might be kidding yourself, gil

      (btw, most of us humans prefer the truth to sodastream Ziocaine.)

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      August 14, 2013, 6:42 pm

      Gilo cannot “remain in Israel” because it is NOT in Israel at the moment! It is one of Israel’s bastard settlements (illegitimate) built on raped Palestinian land!

  10. RudyM
    RudyM
    August 14, 2013, 6:25 pm

    There’s a lot of history.

  11. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    August 14, 2013, 6:49 pm

    RE: “. . . [Y]ou’ll see the degree to which Matt Lee’s anger/skepticism about Israeli settlements is reflected by several other reporters, notably Rosalind Jordan of Al Jazeera English, who says the administration has adopted a ‘softer take’ on settlements… Lee also riffs off of John Kerry’s statement that the settlements are “illegitimate.” He looked up the word and said it means they are either a, born out of wedlock or b, illegal.” ~ Weiss

    APPARENTLY THE U.S. NOW ONLY CONSIDERS THE SETTLEMENTS “ILLEGITIMATE”, NOT NECESSARILY “ILLEGAL” UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW*: Illegitimate is not a legal term except in very limited instances, and it has various meanings. The only legal use of the word “illegitimate” that comes to mind is in the instance of an “illegitimate child” (born out of wedlock), and such an illegitimate child has virtually all of the rights of any other child (except the right to inherit from his/her putative father)!

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Legitimacy (law)]:

    (EXCERPT) In common law, legitimacy is the status of a child born to parents who are legally married to each other; and of a child conceived before the parents receive a legal divorce. Conversely, illegitimacy (or bastardy) is the status of a child born outside marriage. The consequences of illegitimacy have pertained mainly to a child’s rights of inheritance to the putative father’s estate and the child’s right to bear the father’s surname or title. Illegitimacy has also had consequences for the mother’s and child’s right to support from the putative father. . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitimacy_(law)

    * P.S. Israel has never payed much attention to international law (unless it favored Israel). Now the United States’ blank check support for Israel is causing the U.S. to also skirt international law. This is yet another reason I fear that Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment! ! !
    “Down, down, down we [the U.S.] go into the deep, dark abyss; hand in hand with Israel.”

    P.P.S. OTHER EXAMPLES OF ISRAEL’S VALUES TRUMPING (OVERRIDING) THE VALUES OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT – http://mondoweiss.net/2013/05/markets-propaganda-waughs.html#comment-566771

  12. bilal a
    bilal a
    August 15, 2013, 12:07 am

    It could be worse, they could be occupied by al sisi’s egypt

  13. ziusudra
    ziusudra
    August 15, 2013, 2:27 am

    Greetings Lee,
    I, Ms Harf.
    I’m not going to….
    I don’t want to…..
    Have i made that clear?
    I stand before you, to sit behind you, to nudge you from the side & tell you everything that i know absolutely nothing about.
    ziusudra

  14. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    August 15, 2013, 3:01 am

    I think that Marie Harf is very impressive! Such a talented young person began her career at CIA, where it is easy to be corrupted by institutional belief in the necessity of certain aspects of dishonesty. Yet there isn’t any evidence of such corruption in her demeanor or her words. This is as impressive a journalist – administration spokesperson conversation that we’ve seen since . . . when???

    “I will get you a more fulsome answer.”

    I know there’s a lot of skepticism around these talks, but I have to say, I see a flicker of hope.

  15. Citizen
    Citizen
    August 15, 2013, 4:37 am

    Illegitimacy : The condition before the law, or the social status of a child born out of wedlock.

    Illegitimate: That which is contrary to law; term is usually applied to children born out of lawful wedlock.

    Those above definitions from Black’s Law Dictionary (Sixth Edition)

    Ballentine’s Law Dictionary (Third Edition) says:

    Illegitimate: Broadly, contrary to law. Usually understood in the narrower sense of being born out wedlock.

    Perhaps Kerry’s using the term (rather than illegal) because Israel does not agree with the interpretation of the applicable international law that forms the general consensus
    of the world’s legal scholars, as well as the official policy of most of the world’s states.
    For example, if you read “settlements,” but not “the settlements,” or “all settlements,” there’s room to argue, to hang a hat on. And too, there’s surrounding text context. And so on. There’s no supreme court of the entire world to decide.

  16. giladg
    giladg
    August 15, 2013, 7:07 am

    Philip, how come you are so quiet about Egypt? Is Egypt not in the Middle East? Oh, now I get it, “war of ideas” does not cover Arab and Muslim perpetrated violence when the idea is that chaos exists in the countries neighboring Israel. This does not fit well with the image you are trying to portray for the Palestinians, as if they have no connection with their brothers in the region. And what ever you do, don’t mention that Yassar Arafat was born in Egypt.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      August 15, 2013, 7:10 pm

      “This does not fit well with the image you are trying to portray for the Palestinians, as if they have no connection with their brothers in the region.”

      Why do you regard Egyptians as brothers of the Palestinians?

      Do you regard Danes as brothers of the Swedes or of the Swiss? Do you regard Mexicans or Canadians as brothers of Americans? Italians as brothers of the French? Poles as brothers of the Ukrainians? Thais as brothers of the Laotians or Vietnamese?

      • giladg
        giladg
        August 16, 2013, 10:13 am

        “Why do you regard Egyptians as brothers of the Palestinians?”
        Because many of those who call themselves Palestinians migrated to the area during the past 150 years. Many migrated from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Iraq. Many families in Gaza have family connections with citizens of Egypt. Many Palestinians in the West Bank have family connections with Arabs from Jordan and Syria as well.
        Brothers? If you are interested in the truth then you had better start believe it.

  17. Donald
    Donald
    August 15, 2013, 8:13 am

    The following exchange is really the heart of the issue–it basically says what’s been wrong with the US approach going back decades. My only criticism is that the problem really started with the ethnic cleansing of 48, not 67, but Matt is getting to this sense of entitlement on the Israeli side that whatever they’ve stolen now and right up to the moment when a peace treaty is signed is theirs by right and anything they don’t take is a generous concession. And the US panders to this by assuming that whatever Israel steals automatically becomes something the Palestinians have to negotiate about if they want any of it back.

    “I want to focus on the continued part of this; continued settlement activity is illegitimate. What about prior settlement activity? Is that also illegitimate?

    MS. HARF: …I’m not going to make a broad sweeping generalization from here about prior settlement activity…

    Lee: Do you know when the cutoff is between legitimate and illegitimate? Or is it only continued, i.e. settlement activity in the future that is illegitimate, and once it’s built… it’s not illegitimate? Do you see what I’m —

    MS. HARF: No, I understand your question.

    Lee: The problem with it is… is that nothing is actually illegitimate. It’s always pushed into the future. So I want to know when it is that you think the illegitimacy of settlements began.

    MS. HARF: Okay. I can – I will take that question.

    Lee: Did it begin at – in ‘67 or is there some stuff that is okay and that should be off the table in terms of swaps, stuff that Israel should have claimed to before the negotiations come to an end?

    MS. HARF: …we know this is a very delicate issue. It’s one that’s being discussed right now, and I wouldn’t want to get ahead of discussions on the ground.

  18. Citizen
    Citizen
    August 15, 2013, 9:10 am

    Ms Harf apparently didn’t get the memo from Amnesty International on Israeli settlement policy–it’s a long-running war crime: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/lets-be-clear-israels-long-running-settlement-policy-constitutes-a-war-crime/?utm_content=buffer4ab7e&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

    It’s amazing to me that US government and its employees involved on this issue have no shame, just go out and cloud up everything for Israel’s benefit. Then again, they like the gravy train. Ms Harf’s academic and career background heavily suggests she knows what the actual facts are, both as to international law, for example the 4th Geneva on those settlements, and as to what Israel itself calls “making facts on the ground” and what that does to Palestinian daily life and future. Hideous creature.

  19. seafoid
    seafoid
    August 15, 2013, 9:58 am

    “MS. HARF: All of the issues involved with Middle East peace are difficult.”

    No, they aren’t.
    Israeli intransigence is easy to deal with.

  20. seafoid
    seafoid
    August 15, 2013, 11:40 am

    Great powers at work.

    I bet State was exactly the same in 1944, or 1965 or 1982

    MS. HARF’s great grandmother/grandmother/mother : I’m not going to discuss whether or not something in Auschwitz/Saigon/The Guatemala highlands bothers us. I’m going to say that we have serious concerns with the recent announcement. We’ve made those concerns known to the German Government/South Vietnamese government/Guatemalan Government …Let me finish for a second, Matt. I’m not going to further describe our position on this other than…. to say we have serious concerns.

  21. rensanceman
    rensanceman
    August 15, 2013, 12:25 pm

    For the Palestinians to have to “negotiate” for a return of even some of their land, is like a bank negotiating with bank robbers for a return of the money stolen from them. If international law was enforced and U.N. Resolutions (regarding Israel/Palestine) honored, there would no need for “negotiations” where the power configuration is heavily asymmetrical. From 1948-2011 there have 42 UNSC Resolutions condemning Israel’s actions, 3o of which have been vetoed by the U.S. our Mid-East foreign policy is in the hands of the zealous Zionist. Aux barricades!

  22. kayq
    kayq
    August 16, 2013, 4:32 am

    If these segregated train lines are implemented, then they’ll just usurp more land. While stations will ultimately be built in settlements, I imagine that train tracks will run through Palestinian villages, or ultimately around them confiscating more dunums at the behest of settlers, even though Palestinians will not be able to use them. Israel may be a “democracy” but it is a ethnocratic thief.

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