What’s the US saying about Palestine, today? Nov. 3 edition
At the U.S. State Department press briefing on Tuesday, a few questions about Palestine and Israel were directed at Press Office Director Elizabeth Trudeau.
One reporter asked if Trudeau had any comments on the law that the Knesset passed which set a minimum sentence on Palestinian stone throwers at three years. Trudeau said that she can’t speak on the situation because she hasn’t read the reports, but referenced Secretary John Kerry, stating that they remain deeply concerned about the escalated tension.
A reporter also asked if Trudeau if she had any comments in regards to Israeli closing a U.S. funded radio station in Hebron—Radio Al-Hurriya and on a recent article written by former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer.
The questioning ends with a reporter pointing out that Trudeau continues to refer back to the Government of Israel for what the U.S. Government reaction is.
QUESTION: You promised me. Okay, the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Today, or early today, the Knesset passed a law of mandatory sentence of rock-throwers, Palestinian rock-throwers, of three years, a minimum three years in prison. Of course, it excludes Israeli settlers who also practice throwing rocks and so on. I wonder if you have any comment on that. Do you find this to be a bit severe?
MS TRUDEAU: Okay, I haven’t seen those reports. So what I would say is, echoing what Secretary Kerry has said, is that we remain deeply concerned about this situation – not speaking specifically to this law, because that would be an issue to direct to the Israelis. But we continue to urge affirmative steps to restore calm and prevent actions that would escalate tension.
QUESTION: Okay. So but —
MS TRUDEAU: So I’m not speaking specifically to that because I’m not aware of those reports.
QUESTION: Okay. Once you review this new law, considering that most of these kids are 14 and 15-year-olds and so on, do you consider that to be a bit draconian if that is accurate?
MS TRUDEAU: Okay. I can’t speak to it, Said, because I haven’t seen it.
QUESTION: Okay. Let me ask you – I have a couple more questions.
MS TRUDEAU: Of course.
QUESTION: Today also the Israelis closed a radio station in Hebron, the radio Al-Hurriya, under pretext of it enticing. Do you have any comment on that?
MS TRUDEAU: So we’ve seen the reports. We’re following that issue closely. I don’t have anything further on that. I’m going to refer you to the Government of Israel for that.
QUESTION: Okay. And lastly, let me try – did you see an op-ed or an article by former Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer that was published in The National Interest? He lays out seven points to get the process going. But he basically says that this occupation must be brought to an end and that you guys must be doing something about that. Do you agree with his premise that this occupation must end and it must end soon and the United States must do something?
MS TRUDEAU: So I’m not going to talk about the commentary of individuals. I’d redirect you back to what Secretary Kerry has said.
QUESTION: So since Secretary Kerry spoke last week, has he been in touch with either the Israelis or the Palestinian leaders in terms of incitements and to refrain from incitement? Did he speak with them —
MS TRUDEAU: So he did speak to Israeli prime minister this weekend. I don’t have a readout on that call, but he is staying in touch.
QUESTION: Okay, and – but did he speak with any Palestinians?
MS TRUDEAU: I don’t have any readouts on that.
QUESTION: Can I make sure I understand something?
MS TRUDEAU: Of course.
QUESTION: When Said asked you if you had any comment about the closure of the Israeli – I mean of the Palestinian radio station in Hebron, you said I refer you – we’re following it, I’ll refer you to the Government of Israel on that. You’re referring us to the Government of Israel for what the U.S. Government reaction is?
MS TRUDEAU: No, we’re referring you to details on that report, because all I’ve seen is media reports on this.
QUESTION: Okay. I don’t think he was asking you for —
MS TRUDEAU: I’m sorry. Did I misunderstand the question?
QUESTION: I don’t think he was asking you for what happened, an account of what happened. I think he was asking for what the U.S. Government’s reaction to this is. Are you saying that you don’t have one, or were you saying that you would like —
MS TRUDEAU: No, I’m saying we have seen the reports. We’re – we – we’re following these issues closely. I’ve spoken from this podium, as many people have, about the issue of media freedom. On this specific incident, I’ve just seen the reports. I don’t know – have the details on how or why the radio station was closed. On that specifically I’d refer you to the Israelis.
QUESTION: I’m not sure about this, but I think it’s also subsidized by the U.S. Government, and the Israeli station was an issue for (inaudible).
MS TRUDEAU: I just saw the reports – I – before I walked out here. So thank you.