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US-Israel relationship is still ‘strong and formidable,’ says State Dep’t

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You’ve surely noticed pressure building for a confrontation between the U.S. government and Israel over the latest settlement plans in East Jerusalem. The Netanyahu government is moving full speed ahead on the East Jerusalem plans, evidently to please the right wing of its coalition. And the Obama administration’s snub to Netanyahu’s Defense Minister on his visit to Washington last week is seen as an effort to politically weaken a politician who is against the creation of a Palestinian state. To the point that the Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid said, “There is a crisis with the US and we should treat it as a crisis… Relations with the US are necessary and important to the State of Israel and we must do everything in the world to get out of the crisis.”

Yesterday’s briefing at the State Department contained extensive discussion of the settlement move: Will the United States do anything to express its displeasure with Israel beyond complaining? State’s Jen Psaki did on-the-one-hand/on -the-other. She came close to saying that settlements foster terrorism:

If Israel wants to see – wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps to reduce tensions and to avoid steps that are going to be incompatible with peace. And that’s consequences that they would – they would – that would impact them directly….

it’s incompatible with their stated desire to live in a peaceful society.

But as for that chill, the relationship is still “strong and formidable.”

In terms of our relationship, the defense relationship, as you know, remains as strong as ever and the ties between us are unshakable. There are times when we disagree with actions of the Israeli Government, including settlements, the issue of settlements, where we have deep concerns about some of the steps the government is taking. We express those, but it does not mean that we don’t have a strong and formidable relationship that continues.

Here’s more from the briefing, in which AP’s Matt Lee presses State to say that it will do more than mere condemnation over the settlement plans. Also notice reporters asking if the FBI is going to be called in to investigate the killing of Orwah Hammad, the 14-year-old boy with US citizenship killed in a village last weekend.

QUESTION: On Israel, could you talk about Israel accelerating new settlement units that was just announced today, and if you – we could just follow on last week. It just seems that there’s a little bit of acrimony between the U.S. and Israel right now surrounding the defense minister’s visit, Israel now with these settlements and what’s going on.
MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve seen – they’ve been reports. There haven’t been an official announcement at this point in time. We’re certainly deeply concerned by the reports. We are engaging at the highest levels with the Israeli Government from our Embassy on the ground to get —
QUESTION: Does that mean the President’s called?
MS. PSAKI: No. We’re – I said on the ground – from our Embassy on the ground to get more information. And we continue to make our position absolutely clear that we view settlement activity as illegitimate and unequivocally oppose unilateral steps that prejudge the future of Jerusalem. Israel’s leaders have said they would support a pathway to a two-state solution, but moving forward with this type of action would be incompatible with the pursuit of peace, and that is certainly a message that we are conveying directly.
In terms of our relationship, the defense relationship, as you know, remains as strong as ever and the ties between us are unshakable. There are times when we disagree with actions of the Israeli Government, including settlements, the issue of settlements, where we have deep concerns about some of the steps the government is taking. We express those, but it does not mean that we don’t have a strong and formidable relationship that continues.
QUESTION: Sorry, do – have there – has there been any contact outside of the Embassy with the Israelis since the defense minister left?
MS. PSAKI: I think the Secretary spoke with the prime minister this weekend.
QUESTION: Could you read it out so we can —
QUESTION: Mm-hmm. About what?
MS. PSAKI: I’ll check and see if there’s more to read out from the call. It was not about the visit of the defense minister, obviously.
QUESTION: It wasn’t?
MS. PSAKI: No.
QUESTION: But – okay. So it had to do with your concerns about settlements, or it had to do with the two American children who were —
MS. PSAKI: I will check and see if there’s more to read out for you, Matt.
QUESTION: All right. So in terms of you making your point clear on settlements when you’re speaking with the Israelis, have they been told that you’re actually going to do anything if they go ahead, or is it just that you’re going to say that you’re upset?
MS. PSAKI: We’ve expressed our view exactly as I just expressed it, Matt.
QUESTION: So there isn’t – so there is no consequence, then, beyond you just saying that you think it’s —
MS. PSAKI: This is often your question when we have a discussion on this issue.
QUESTION: Well, I’m just wondering if this time it would be different —
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think, as we said —
QUESTION: — because what —
MS. PSAKI: — many times before, there obviously is – you’ve seen reactions from the international community. You’ve seen our strong reactions from here. And I’m going to leave it at that.
QUESTION: Yeah, but those strong reactions don’t actually – it doesn’t stop them from doing anything, though.
MS. PSAKI: Well —
QUESTION: So I’m just wondering if this time – if they go ahead with what you were just talking about, that you’re deeply concerned, I’m wondering if it will actually draw a consequence —
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think the key —
QUESTION: — other than you getting angry from the podium.
MS. PSAKI: The key challenge, Matt, I think, is if Israel wants to see – wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps to reduce tensions and to avoid steps that are going to be incompatible with peace. And that’s consequences that they would – they would – that would impact them directly.
QUESTION: Are you saying that – I mean, do you think now that, basically, Israel is kind of giving up on that and is just going ahead with its own unilateral plans?
MS. PSAKI: I didn’t say that. I would leave it at what I just said, which is that it’s incompatible with their stated desire to live in a peaceful society.
QUESTION: You called – late on Friday you issued a fairly strong statement in your name calling for a speedy and transparent investigation into the killing of a U.S. citizen apparently by – or your statement said by the Israeli Defense Forces. It’s been 48 hours since – more than that, actually – 60 hours, say, since you issued that statement. Have you yet seen a speedy and transparent or speedy or transparent investigation by the Israelis?
MS. PSAKI: Well, Arshad, I don’t have a day-to-day evaluation of the investigation. We remain closely engaged with authorities. Our consulate-general in Jerusalem is in contact with the family, but obviously, we want to see that investigation rapidly concluded.
QUESTION: Is the FBI involved in that?
QUESTION: Could you ask – can I keep going on this? Forgive me. You asked for it to be fast. Has it been fast?
MS. PSAKI: It’s been moving forward. I don’t have an evaluation of the investigation timeline.
QUESTION: Could you take that one for us? Because you asked —
MS. PSAKI: I will let you know if there’s more that we can convey.
QUESTION: — publicly for a speedy investigation. More than two days has gone by. A U.S. citizen is dead, and it —
MS. PSAKI: I’m well aware. That’s why we put out the statement on Friday.
QUESTION: And that’s exactly why I’m asking if you’ve actually seen whether or not there has been a speedy investigation.
MS. PSAKI: I will let you know if there’s more we want to convey from the U.S. Government.
QUESTION: Is the U.S. Government involved in the investigation? Have any – is the FBI involved in any way, or if this is the Israeli Defense Force —
MS. PSAKI: Local authorities have the lead, Elise. Not that I’m aware of.
QUESTION: Well – but, I mean, usually in the killing of an American citizen – I mean, usually the FBI or some other kind of U.S. law enforcement agency would be involved in the investigation. You’re just leaving it up to the Israelis to investigate these – supposed Israeli killing of an American citizen?
MS. PSAKI: I will check to see if there are any U.S. officials involved.
QUESTION: Jen, there was another U.S. citizen who was killed in – last week as well, a child. And you put out a statement —
MS. PSAKI: We did.
QUESTION: — about that as well, Actually, a baby, I guess, is the correct —
MS. PSAKI: Yes. A three-month-old baby.
QUESTION: Yes. How is the investigation into that going?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any updates on the investigations. I would encourage you all to ask the Israeli authorities that question.
QUESTION: Okay. Several —
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: Hold on, Elise. Several months ago, there was a shooting – there was an incident involving a shooting of some Palestinian youths. They weren’t Americans, but you called at that time for an – this was the video, the one that was captured on videotape. Are you aware of the results of that Israeli investigation?
MS. PSAKI: I would encourage you to ask the Israeli authorities for —
QUESTION: All right. And then —
MS. PSAKI: — any outcomes they would like to share with you.
QUESTION: In the case of the Palestinian American teenager who was killed on Friday, are you – do you know the circumstances under which he was shot?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more details.
QUESTION: There are – okay. The reason I ask is because there are reports out there that he was throwing Molotov cocktails at cars on a highway. And I’m wondering, if that is the case, would you have still been so speedy in putting out a statement and offering your condolences to the family? The argument that is being made by some in Israel is that this kid was essentially a terrorist. And you don’t agree with that, I assume, but I don’t know, so that’s why I’m asking.
MS. PSAKI: Correct, we don’t. I don’t have any more details on the circumstances now.
QUESTION: So you – does that – that would apply even if he was throwing Molotov cocktails?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to speculate. I don’t have details to share.
QUESTION: All right. The other thing —
QUESTION: Back to the baby – back to the —
QUESTION: Well, I’ve got – I’ve got to get one more on this and then I’m done. There is a photograph of this teenager’s – this teenager being buried today, and he’s wearing a Hamas headband. It was put on him, obviously. Is that of concern at all to you guys?
MS. PSAKI: I just don’t have any more on this particular case.
QUESTION: Back to the baby. Can you – I mean, supposedly it was by Palestinian militants or whomever, not by the Israelis. Could you say or check whether – that the U.S. is involved in the investigation into the killing, into that car accident?
MS. PSAKI: I will see if there is U.S. involvement in either of the cases.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Jen, you said that Israeli leaders are committed to the two-state solution. Have you read the interview with the Israeli defense minister this weekend?
MS. PSAKI: I said they have stated that, but obviously —
QUESTION: Okay. But he actually —
MS. PSAKI: — actions like settlement activity are inconsistent with that.
QUESTION: Okay. Well, let me get your reaction to what he said. He actually – he says that no, not a two-state solution, that the Palestinians basically will not give more than some sort of an autonomy, that both Abbas, as his predecessor Arafat, are not committed to peace, they don’t accept Israel, and so on. I mean, he said some strong stuff.
MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, I have not looked at the interview. But as you know, there are some who are not supporters of a two-state solution or a peaceful outcome.
QUESTION: So —
MS. PSAKI: So I don’t think that’s —
QUESTION: So you find yourself in a sort of a different position, an opposing position, if you will, to the Israeli defense minister? You think that Abbas is —
MS. PSAKI: Said, I have not looked —
QUESTION: — is a partner for peace?
MS. PSAKI: Said, I have not looked at the interview. I’m happy to do that. I would just state there have been comments made in the past that are not supportive of a two-state solution by individuals. Obviously, we have been working with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the past when we’ve been pursuing this process.
QUESTION: But – hold on a second.
QUESTION: Let me ask you this.
QUESTION: If – hold on, Said. If you’re talking about people in the Israeli Government or Israeli politicians who are not in favor of a two-state solution, presumably these are the people who are pushing for new settlement activity. Is that your understanding, that the consequence of that then is that they get what they want, which is they – there is no two-state solution?
MS. PSAKI: Well —
QUESTION: I don’t understand how you expect to change Israel’s behavior as it relates to settlements if all you’re prepared to do is to verbally criticize it and not impose any consequence on it when the very people who are doing it – you’re saying the consequence is they don’t get a two-state solution. Well, that’s exactly what the people who are pushing the settlements want.
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, as we’ve in the past —
QUESTION: Not a two-state solution.
MS. PSAKI: — obviously, the international community is watching closely what they do. I’m going to leave it at that.
Do we have more on this topic?
QUESTION: I’ve got one more.
MS. PSAKI: Sure, go ahead.
QUESTION: To go back to Matt’s question about – were you aware when you put out the statement on Friday night that there were allegations that the Palestinian American teenager had been throwing – our story said a Molotov cocktail and it was – it had run before your statement came out. So didn’t you – did you know at the time when you put out the statement that there were allegations that he was engaged in violence?
MS. PSAKI: Well, there were media reports, Arshad.
QUESTION: Yes.
MS. PSAKI: Beyond that, I don’t have anything to read out for you.
QUESTION: Right, no. But I just wanted to get on the record that you knew about those reports when you put out the call for the speedy investigation.
QUESTION: Matt – I mean Arshad, I’m happy to talk to our team and see if there’s more —
QUESTION: But just to clarify what Matt was saying, and you said – you kind of said something but it was just very short —
MS. PSAKI: Okay.
QUESTION: — you do not believe that this teenager was throwing Molotov cocktails. Is that right?
MS. PSAKI: That’s – I don’t have any more to outline or confirm for you in terms of the circumstances.
QUESTION: No, he said that you don’t believe that to be the case.
MS. PSAKI: That’s not what I said.
QUESTION: Do you? And you said no, you – no.
MS. PSAKI: He asked me if we thought he was a terrorist, and I said no.
QUESTION: Oh, okay.
QUESTION: Is that no longer the case? Do you think you were too precipitous, perhaps, in issuing that statement condemning —
MS. PSAKI: I think we’re going to have to move on now.

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61 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay on October 28, 2014, 12:07 pm

    In terms of our relationship, the defense relationship, as you know, remains as strong as ever and the ties between us are unshakable. There are times when we disagree with actions of the Israeli Government, including settlements, the issue of settlements, where we have deep concerns about some of the steps the government is taking. We express those, but it does not mean that we don’t have a strong and formidable relationship that continues.

    Sure, he yells at me, beats me and burns me with lit cigarettes but I know that, deep down, he loves me. I do argue with him sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a strong relationship.

    America needs counseling. “Jewish State” needs to be held accountable.

  2. just
    just on October 28, 2014, 12:24 pm

    An abomination.

    Thanks to Matt, Said, Elise, and Arshad for exposing the grotesquerie.

    She says she hasn’t read the reports! She’ll get back to us. Really? We are supposed to trust in our embassy in Israel to do anything???

    “You spin me right round, baby
    Right round like a record, baby
    Right round round round
    You spin me right round, baby
    Right round like a record, baby
    Right round round round”

  3. Citizen
    Citizen on October 28, 2014, 12:37 pm

    Fresh Israeli papers quote Bibi N as saying Israel will build in Jerusalem just as France is building in Paris.

  4. just
    just on October 28, 2014, 1:00 pm

    “for·mi·da·ble
    ˈfôrmədəb(ə)l,fərˈmidəb(ə)l/
    adjective
    adjective: formidable

    inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable.
    “a formidable opponent”
    synonyms: intimidating, forbidding, daunting, disturbing, alarming, frightening, disquieting, brooding, awesome, fearsome, ominous, foreboding, sinister, menacing, threatening, dangerous “

    • lysias
      lysias on October 28, 2014, 2:15 pm

      “Formidable” does seem an odd choice of words here. I wonder if the State Department decided on this wording before the press briefing.

    • Boomer
      Boomer on October 28, 2014, 2:20 pm

      just, thanks for the definition and synonyms. A very apt word, wonderfully precise diction befitting a diplo spokesperson, equally applicable to AIPAC et al.

  5. Blownaway
    Blownaway on October 28, 2014, 1:25 pm

    This type of weak kneed response to a in your face provocation by “our closest” ally does more to endanger our national security and damage to our standing in the world thean just about anything else. Why should anyone listen to the US when this piss ant country can lecture, slap the President around and still rob our treasury with impunity

    • Ellen
      Ellen on October 28, 2014, 3:13 pm

      Yes, this country can and does. Imagine what the US would do if so many American citizens were killed/maimed by, say, even Canadian or Italian forces? It makes the US a laughing stock and very damaging to the country.

      But our Congress is bought off by foreign interests and has paymasters other than their constituents.

      • on October 28, 2014, 5:38 pm

        Our Congress is far more than bought off. It is bribed, for sure, but it is also threatened (extortion) and likely blackmailed as well.

        And the reach of the Zionist Crime Family goes far beyond our Congress.

  6. bryan
    bryan on October 28, 2014, 1:36 pm

    “Hang it; settlements are illegal under international law, the occupation is illegal; the murder of women and child civilians is abhorrent to every civilized person, but surely they pay their dues and are worthy of our support – or at least unworthy of our condemnation. Israel may not be a real democracy, but neither is the USA either,so we are in no position to preach. They live in a very difficult neighbourhood (though that was their choice), and far be it for me to undermine the mid-term elections by voicing any criticism.” We have been here so often that listening to Presidential press conference is a waste of everyone’ time, including Mondoweiss commentators?

  7. Horizontal
    Horizontal on October 28, 2014, 1:44 pm

    At the National Press Club I sat through many frustrating interviews just like this one. A lot of talk but nothing said. You have to spend many years learning how to do this to become a State Department Spokesman, a CEO, or a PR drone. You’re then what’s known as a team player, and get to reap all the rewards that such an elite position provides, but I know that I could never do it.

    What’s obvious to me in the proceeding interview is that beforehand certain key phrases were agreed-upon and all questions were key-holed to elicit these same narrow responses. Thus we end up with the strangely disconnected feeling that comes across, where our “good ally” Israel is doing this or that, but we don’t really know what the heck is going on, or even seem to care that much about a couple of dead Americans.

    Hey, the reporters tried, and need to maintain good working relationships in order to keep doing their jobs, but it’s like watching water balloons hit a concrete wall. They did manage to show that our relationship with Israel continues to dishonor our country.

    • lysias
      lysias on October 28, 2014, 2:20 pm

      Are you saying even Matt Lee’s questions are agreed upon in advance?

      • Horizontal
        Horizontal on October 28, 2014, 4:02 pm

        No, sorry if I wasn’t clear. The response is agreed upon beforehand so that a unified message is communicated, whatever that message is. That’s why so many press conferences produce so little real news, and appear so insanely unresponsive.

        Regarding your question, though, it was revealed that during at least some of George W. Bush’s press conferences during the Iraq war, the reporters he called on were known in advance, along with their questions, although it was all presented as being spontaneous.

  8. ckg
    ckg on October 28, 2014, 2:54 pm

    Today the UNGA voted 188-2 to condemn the U.S. commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba. Only the U.S. and Israel voted against it. The Axis of Arrogance is still intact.

    • just
      just on October 28, 2014, 3:15 pm

      FOR SHAME!

      • Horizontal
        Horizontal on October 28, 2014, 7:24 pm

        Hey, I’m sure that embargo will start working any day now . . .

  9. wondering jew
    wondering jew on October 28, 2014, 4:19 pm

    We are entering the last phase of the Obama- Netanyahu relationship, lame duck Obama, and facing election Netanyahu. Bibi (for short) is not a man of peace. He is one: an unlikely man to have risen to the top. (This was due to the inherent weakness of post Begin/Shamir Likud.) He is two: an unlikeable man. He is an ideologue in pragmatic clothing. He is a survivor, thus at bottom survival is his goal rather than ideology, but he is his father’s son: an ideologue.

    This happens to be an unlikely moment for peace between Palestinians and Zionist Jews, because of the turmoil in the wider region. In fact Likud Zionism has considered this moment to be an unlikely moment for peace referring to centuries rather than decades. This is an unlikely century for peace according to Likud. And thus the peace process is mask and the reality is settlement expansion.

    While the borders of the partition plan were impractical for anything but a utopian or best case scenario, the post 67 borders should have been adhered to, unless an offer of citizenship to the indigenous were forthcoming, which it wasn’t. the creation of the reality of citizens next door to military subjects is a mess. military subjects is not a good thing, but next door to citizens is buffoonery.

    Most of Israel is to the right wing. Many right wingers are practical people, but many are not. living by the motto of “they are against us in any case, no matter what”, they do not know human history nor american history and i scoff at their certainties and arrogance.

    ultimately common sense will win out and common sense points to a compromise between zionist jews and the palestinians. The United States will play a role in bringing the zionist jews to their senses: that is they will be forced to figure out their bottom line of what is necessary and what is doable and what is not. with ISIS still on the ascendance it would not seem an opportune moment to get Zionist Jewish Israel to think in terms other than fear. This is not the moment for common sense of the long range sort, when the common sense of the short range sort says, we must control the Jordan Valley. the short range common sense has to be a little closer to the common sense of the long range for some movement to occur.

    but bibi or the right wing forcing bibi is not satisfied with common sense and feels like seizing the moment and showing that there is no common sense exit from this and citizenship for all humans is just “the whole world is against us”.

    but the lame duck phase of Obama is his last chance to get to assert his true beliefs on this issue and since his beliefs are mainstream Democratic Party beliefs, he might feel that it is his duty to assert his constituency’s beliefs, so it could be a rocky time between now and the next Israeli or American election. (Las Vegas bookies will tell you that November 2016 as a date for Israeli elections is between 15 and 50 to 1 against and earlier elections than that are in the cards.)

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer on October 28, 2014, 4:53 pm

      “This happens to be an unlikely moment for peace between Palestinians and Zionist Jews, because of the turmoil in the wider region. ”

      We have heard excuses for over a half century. That is just one of them and it’s not even original.

      “In fact Likud Zionism has considered this moment to be an unlikely moment for peace referring to centuries rather than decades.”

      Not even a little bit surprising given that Likud zionism is not remotely interested in peace but placed all it’s eggs in the basket of conquest. A truly vile and disgusting belief system.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer on October 28, 2014, 4:59 pm

      “with ISIS still on the ascendance it would not seem an opportune moment to get Zionist Jewish Israel to think in terms other than fear. ”

      Then it’s time to grow up or give up the foolishness that the individuals with that belief are competent enough to have a state to begin with.

      With today’s technology you can hit anywhere from anywhere. Nothing less than world domination can satisfy such fears. And for those with desires for that extent of domination I’m willing to join the front lines to take them down. Those who haven’t learned from history are doomed to repeat it. Sadly it appears to be Israel and ISIS who subscribe to those beliefs in the current period.

      I used to think that people, including myself, gave you too hard a time. I no longer feel that way.

    • Horizontal
      Horizontal on October 28, 2014, 11:50 pm

      Yonah ~

      The time for Obama to have acted on his true beliefs regarding Israel — assuming he has any — was when he was politically strong, not as a lame duck. When even Democratic candidates are running away from him on the campaign trail, this is hardly the time to buck a well-heeled, entrenched lobby that isn’t afraid to play hardball and throw their weight behind anyone who is willing to carry their water.

      As far as common sense, the American embrace of Israel has lacked any common sense for a very long time. But then again, nation states often pursue policies which run against their own best national interests.

      The March of Folly

    • just
      just on October 29, 2014, 7:48 am

      Yonah– excuses, excuses, excuses.

  10. seafoid
    seafoid on October 28, 2014, 5:10 pm

    “US-Israel relationship is still ‘strong and formidable,’ says State Dep’t ”

    Reminds me of “insiders” commenting on some doomed celebrity marriage. I just don’t get the feeling that ordinary Americans (especially those under 40) are crazy in love with Zionism any more.

    Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh no no

    • seafoid
      seafoid on October 28, 2014, 5:19 pm

      Staying on the Beyoncé theme I think there’s a big risk of the Yanks having a rapprochement with Iran in the name of realpolitik . Israel brings the Yanks NOTHING.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m1EFMoRFvY&list=RD4m1EFMoRFvY#t=0

      Up in the club (club), we just broke up (up), I’m doing my own little thing.
      Decided to dip (dip) and now you wanna trip (trip)
      ‘Cause another (mullah) brother noticed me

      I’m up on him, he up on me
      Don’t pay him any attention
      Just cried my tears, for forty three good years
      Ya can’t be mad at me

      ‘Cause if you liked it, then you should have put a Palestinian state on it
      If you liked it, then you shoulda put human dignity on it
      Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
      ‘Cause if you liked it, then you shoulda put justice on it
      oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh x2

      If you liked it, then you should have put decency on it
      If you liked it, then you t be mad once you see that he want it
      Don’t be mad once you see that he want it
      If you liked it, then you shoulda put a Palestinian state on it

      I need no permission, did I mention
      Don’t pay him any attention
      ‘Cause you had your turn, and now you gonna learn
      What it really feels like to miss me

  11. seafoid
    seafoid on October 28, 2014, 5:23 pm

    Psaki is such a joke.

    I could imagine her 50 years ago insisting that Liberace was not gay. As a full time role.

    • just
      just on October 28, 2014, 5:25 pm

      lol!

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer on October 28, 2014, 5:59 pm

      I’m not a great judge of age but 50 years ago I’m sure she was just swimming.

    • Horizontal
      Horizontal on October 28, 2014, 11:53 pm

      Problem is, she’d be hilarious in a sitcom. As a spokesperson for the State Department, she’s merely infuriating and sad.

  12. gracie fr
    gracie fr on October 28, 2014, 6:24 pm

    MS. PSAKI:….actions of the Israeli Government, including settlements, where we have deep concerns about some of the steps the government is taking. We express those, but it does not mean that we don’t have a strong and formidable relationship that continues…… they’ve been reports. We’re certainly deeply concerned by the reports. We are engaging at the highest levels with the Israeli Government from our Embassy on the ground to get [more information…???] if Israel wants to see – wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps to reduce tensions and to avoid steps that are going to be incompatible with peace. –

    QUESTION: If you’re talking about people in the Israeli Government or Israeli politicians who are not in favor of a two-state solution, presumably these are the people who are pushing for new settlement activity. Is that your understanding, that the consequence of that then is that they get what they want, which is they – there is no two-state solution? -……I don’t understand how you expect to change Israel’s behavior as it relates to settlements if all you’re prepared to do is to verbally criticize it and not impose any consequence on it when the very people who are doing it – you’re saying the consequence is they don’t get a two-state solution. Well, that’s exactly what the people who are pushing the settlements want. –

    I am afraid that the Obama Administration is totally clueless about what is actually taking place in Isreal proper as well as across the West Bank when it comes to settlements, the Israeli police, IDF battalions, the impications of the rightwing Knesset and the the serious tilt to the right of the High Court (As Scalia and Co have gone out of their way to back business, Supreme Court Justice Asher Grunis and fellow Justices backs settlers); The very compostion of the 33rd Knesset with its majority pro-Zionist coalition, speaks for itself.

    Jeffery Goldberg’s is off key when he says that the Obama and Co. see , “Netanyahu as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, “Aspergery” chickensh°°°°t, and a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-time[r] http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/10/the-crisis-in-us-israel-relations-is-officially-here/382031/

    However, they do recognize that he worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency….”And herein lies the very worrisome danger. Not onlyhave Palestinians been the victims of settler rampages, violernce and hate crimes in th months after Operation Protective Edge, Netanyahu has realized the threat to his future ambitions, by the far-right economy minister, Naftali Bennett, who said that his party would destabilise Netayanhu’s governing coalition unless he “unfroze” settlement building……
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/27/israel-construct-settler-homes-east-jerusalem-netanyahu
    In Israel, the standard decoupling civil and military society has been heavily undermined. The disinterst of secular youth to serve in the military after compulsary service has meant that ideologically motivated soldiers have been deployed in increasing numbers to “protect their homeland,” primarily in disputed Judea and Samaria, the future Palesinian State. Many of these soldiers have honed their combat skills since infancy in the Territorial Defense battalions, serve in units of the Kfir Brigades and are guided by rabbis as part of their institutional connection to the yeshivot and mechinot home bases. Furthermore, the boundaries between the soldiers, who are there to enforce law and order, and the citizens, namely the settlers, who were supposed to respect the authority of the soldiers, have become one and the same.
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/apr/29/israels-holy-warriors/

  13. gracie fr
    gracie fr on October 28, 2014, 6:38 pm

    The reality is that Netanyahu is afraid to build because he fears international sanctions, but is also afraid to admit he isn’t building because he fears the wrath of the settlers and wants to hold his coalition together. Everything else is just spin and slogans. ……

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.623115

  14. Kay24
    Kay24 on October 28, 2014, 6:38 pm

    Yet US Officials calls Bibi a “Chickenshit PM”.

    U.S. official says Netanyahu is a ‘chickenshit PM’
    In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, U.S. officials praise the prime minister’s caution about starting wars but decry his distaste for the peace process.
    By Barak Ravid 23:18 28.10.14

    As the ongoing crisis in U.S.-relations continues, a report by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg cites a senior U.S. official as saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “a chickenshit prime minister,” who only cares about his political survival.” Haaretz

    So true. They may call each other nasty names, but they have become formidable when it comes to manufacturing, selling, and using deadly weapons made in Israel and the US.

    • lysias
      lysias on October 28, 2014, 6:45 pm

      Then most U.S. politicians are chickenshit politicians, as they are primarily concerned about their political survival. That is in fact the prime weakness of our political system.

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on October 28, 2014, 6:56 pm

        Absolutely. I think the US is doomed because of that. As long as the Israeli lobby and the NRA wields power over congress, and our wimpy politicians need them to survive, our country can never do the right things for the good of the American people.

    • just
      just on October 29, 2014, 8:13 am

      “The remarks are particularly telling in having been made to Goldberg, a Washington insider who has interviewed both Obama and Netanyahu, and who warned US-Israeli relations were in a “full-blown crisis” that could only get worse after the midterm elections.

      Speaking to the Israeli parliament – the Knesset – a few hours after the comments were revealed, Netanyahu angrily insisted he was “under attack simply for defending Israel”, adding that he “cherished” Israel’s relationship with the US.

      “When there are pressures on Israel to concede its security, the easiest thing to do is to concede,” he said. “You get a round of applause, ceremonies on grassy knolls, and then come the missiles and the tunnels.”

      The Obama officials’ comments underline the dismal state of relations between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu after a series of damaging announcements by Israel – including again this week – regarding its determination to push ahead with settlement building in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

      The temperature of relations plunged again last week when Israel’s defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, was pointedly snubbed by senior administration officials during a visit last week to Washington, which itself followed a public warning from the White House that Israel risked alienating its “closest allies”.

      Despite the deepening frustration in Washington, Netanyahu continued to hit back over the latest settlement announcement, saying US criticism was “detached from reality”, even on the eve of the publication of the latest remarks.

      “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” said one official quoted in the Atlantic. “The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars. The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states.

      “The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.””

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/29/binyamin-netanyahu-a-chickenshit-say-us-officials-in-explosive-interview

      1) He certainly doesn’t seem to mind slaughtering Palestinians

      2) what “grassy knolls” is he talking about???

      3) he does not want peace

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on October 29, 2014, 8:26 am

        I get your point. Goldberg is a weasel who carries the water for the mothership, so to say such a stunning thing like that has a big impact. Meanwhile Bibi the Chickenshit plays victims, and shows his people he is taking the insults for THEM.

        “Netanyahu responds to U.S.: I am under attack for defending Israel
        Hours after U.S. official quoted calling Netanyahu ‘chickenshit’, PM says alliance between Israel and U.S. is still strong despite arguments.”

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.623356

        Aww, what a brave man.

      • lysias
        lysias on October 29, 2014, 10:23 am

        “Grassy knolls”? Is he hinting about assassination?

  15. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson on October 28, 2014, 9:33 pm

    RE: “Yesterday’s briefing at the State Department contained extensive discussion of the settlement move: Will the United States do anything to express its displeasure with Israel beyond complaining?” ~ Weiss

    THAT REMINDS ME: I wonder how much progress Israel has made in the “thorough and transparent investigation” the US State Department said more than six months ago it expected Israel to make* into the videotaped shooting/murder by the Israeli military of the two Palestinian teenagers (Nadim Nuwwara and Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh Salameh) during the Nakba Day protests outside Ofer prison in the West Bank back on May 15.

    * SEE – “US to Israel: Investigate killing of Palestinian teens”, by Yitzhak Benhorin, ynetnews.com, 5/21/14
    Following release of footage documenting killing of two Palestinians near Ramallah, US State Department spokesperson says US expects Israel to ‘conduct a thorough and transparent investigation’.
    LINK – http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4521979,00.html

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson on October 29, 2014, 11:25 pm

      P.S. RE: “I wonder how much progress Israel has made in the “thorough and transparent investigation” the US State Department said more than six months ago it expected Israel to make* into the videotaped shooting/murder by the Israeli military of the two Palestinian teenagers (Nadim Nuwwara and Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh Salameh) during the Nakba Day protests outside Ofer prison in the West Bank back on May 15.” ~ me (from above)

      HAARETZ EDITORIAL, May 30, 2014:

      [EXCERPT] The report in Haaretz (Chaim Levinson and Amos Harel, Thursday) that a non-combat soldier attached to the Border Police force fired, contrary to regulations, at Palestinian protesters during the riots in Beitunia – apparently because of “boredom” – does little to advance the investigation into the death of two young Palestinians at the Nakba Day protest. However, it raises other troubling questions, which are no less serious.

      The soldier, whose job and unit cannot be disclosed due to a military gag order, is connected primarily to communications. It is assumed that at a certain point he too wanted to shoot at the demonstrators and took a gun from a Border Policeman. Sources in the Chief Military Defense office, which is representing the soldier, said that as far as they know the soldier fired only two rubber bullets, and did so according to orders and with the approval of the commanders in the field.

      This response not only underrates the events’ seriousness, but clouds the picture even more. Commanders of troops shooting people, even if “only” with rubber bullets, let a “visitor” accompanying them target human beings to increase his “enjoyment” of the mission? The awful moral failure underlying this incident requires the IDF to take a thorough account of itself, not only regarding the moral norms it inculcates in its soldiers, but also regarding military discipline. . .

      ENTIRE EDITORIAL – http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.596219

  16. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson on October 28, 2014, 10:17 pm

    RE: “In terms of our relationship, the defense relationship, as you know, remains as strong as ever and the ties between us are unshakable. There are times when we disagree with actions of the Israeli Government, including settlements, the issue of settlements, where we have deep concerns about some of the steps the government is taking. We express those, but it does not mean that we don’t have a strong and formidable relationship that continues. ~ “Jen-Jen” Psaki

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  17. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes on October 28, 2014, 10:25 pm

    Regarding PsakI:

    If Israel wants to see – wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps to reduce tensions and to avoid steps that are going to be incompatible with peace. And that’s consequences that they would – they would – that would impact them directly….

    it’s incompatible with their stated desire to live in a peaceful society.

    With its escalating actions on the Temple Mount, Israel’s leadership appears to have been trying to provoke a third intifada for many months. A violent intifada would derail Abbas’ efforts for the recognition of Palestine. It would provide cover for violent suppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. It also serves to pander to the increasingly bold and violent Israeli right-wing. (On a side note, what’s with all of the fundamentalist Jews on the Temple Mount? Did someone locate THE Red Heifer?)

  18. Horizontal
    Horizontal on October 28, 2014, 11:31 pm

    QUESTION: I don’t understand how you expect to change Israel’s behavior as it relates to settlements if all you’re prepared to do is to verbally criticize it and not impose any consequence on it when the very people who are doing it – you’re saying the consequence is they don’t get a two-state solution. Well, that’s exactly what the people who are pushing the settlements want.

    MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, as we’ve [said] in the past —

    QUESTION: Not a two-state solution.

    MS. PSAKI: — obviously, the international community is watching closely what they do. I’m going to leave it at that.

    To me, this is the meat of the exchange.

    There are no consequences from the US for settlements which threaten the two state solution; those consequences supposedly only come from the international community. But who prevents the international community from taking any concerted action regarding Israel? You guessed it — the United States.

    What a deceitful, misleading, two-faced response. This is the diplomatic equivalent of “My dog ate my homework,” but that’s all that’s left for anyone wanting to still blindly defend the “Jewish State in the tough neighborhood.”

    Yuck.

  19. gracie fr
    gracie fr on October 29, 2014, 6:32 am

    Al Jazeera debate, which took place in September 2008 on US/Israeli relations and the settlement issue. That was 6 years ago. How telling it is that absolutely nothing has changed….

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2009/09/200991711930471529.html

  20. mikeo
    mikeo on October 29, 2014, 7:19 am

    Yeah, whatever…

    State dept says: “US-Israel relationship is still ‘strong and formidable”

    But Obama’s stenographer says “Bibi is a chickenshit”

    Move along – nothing to see here : )

    • annie
      annie on October 29, 2014, 8:08 am
      • Kay24
        Kay24 on October 29, 2014, 8:29 am

        I think it is an insult to chickenshit, after all chickenshit simply lies there, whereas Bibi simply lies, and is far more dangerous.

      • just
        just on October 29, 2014, 8:36 am

        LOL!

      • just
        just on October 29, 2014, 8:46 am

        superb.

        the 95% over there and the ardent supporters over here need to pay attention. I only hope and pray that this is just the tip of the iceberg of a change in the ‘special relationship’– the one that Netanyahu ‘cherishes’ but holds in contempt/takes for granted too much of the time.

        wonder how soon the ADL et al will call this antisemitic…….

      • Citizen
        Citizen on October 29, 2014, 9:05 am

        @ just
        ADL is already on public record saying yes, indeed there’s a rift, but it’s only with the Obama WH (& Bibi plans to come to US & speak directly to the US public, which I guess, means looking forward to extended applause from US Congress & a prime time TV segment showing the dynamic Bibi N telling us all what reality is.)

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel on October 29, 2014, 9:10 am

        Netanyahu’s strategy all along has been to treat what he views (or likes to portray) as a hostile administration with disdain, counting on his bipartisan power in Congress and holding out for a “friendlier” White House. The chickenshitting “senior Obama administration officials” who confide in Jeffrey Goldberg merely help to fulfil Netanyahu’s prophecies and shore up the settlement-building, tough-guy image he’s working so hard on right now. Of course he said that he’s being criticised for “looking out for Israel’s interests”. Thanks, Jeff.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on October 29, 2014, 9:17 am

        @ Shmuel

        Bingo! Bibi remembers that extended bipartisan applause he got in the US Congress. This guy is already countering the “chickens hit” label, setting us up for Bibi’s Second Coming: http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/10/senior-obama-official-bibi-netanyahu-is-chickenshit/

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on October 29, 2014, 11:01 am

        “wonder how soon the ADL et al will call this antisemitic…….”

        Just – what a sorry state of affairs, if ADL has to call “chickens hit” antisemitism.

        The fact that they have to call chicken poop antisemitism show how low they would go in the digestive system.

  21. Kay24
    Kay24 on October 29, 2014, 11:05 am

    Okay here comes the walking back, retractions, and disassociations:

    “White House to Haaretz: ‘Chickenshit’ jibe against Netanyahu inappropriate, counterproductive
    Deputy White House Spokesman Alistair Baskey says Obama and Netanyahu have effective partnership and consult closely and frequently.
    The White House on Wednesday disassociated itself from a remark made by U.S. official calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickenshit,” in an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrery Goldberg published on Tuesday.”

    Haaretz

    • Horizontal
      Horizontal on October 29, 2014, 11:56 am

      Yeah, we can’t be honest now. We got midterms coming up.

      And please tell me that smug war criminal isn’t coming back here for another congressional full frontal ego massage courtesy of the American taxpayer. Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, where are you?

    • just
      just on October 29, 2014, 3:25 pm

      The chicken has already flown the coop…no official would have said it if it had not been approved.

      Just sayin’.

  22. Kay24
    Kay24 on October 29, 2014, 12:03 pm

    Sodastream to move to Southern Israel region and says it is purely for commercial reasons….yeah right!

    “A representative for Israeli drink maker SodaStream International Ltd. says its factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank will be relocated next year to southern Israel.

    Nirit Hurwitz said Wednesday that the facility will move in 2015 to Lehavim, in Israel’s southern Negev region. She said the decision to move is for “purely commercial” reasons.

    Palestinian activists had launched a campaign boycotting the company because of the factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 from Jordan and claimed by the Palestinians.

    SodaStream has said it employs hundreds of Palestinians and gives them equal benefits as Israeli workers.

    SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said: “We are working with the Israeli government to secure work permits for our Palestinian employees.” Haaretz

    • amigo
      amigo on October 29, 2014, 12:13 pm

      “SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said: “We are working with the Israeli government to secure work permits for our Palestinian employees.” Haaretz

      And arrange segregated buses for the untermenschen to travel to work on.

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on October 29, 2014, 2:07 pm

        Yes, the love and compassion they have for the Palestinians, is so believable, it makes me want to cry.

      • just
        just on October 29, 2014, 3:27 pm

        mebbe they’ll build a prison barracks for them so that they don’t have to travel at all…

        ahem

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