"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
INDEX FOR TODAY'S BRIEFING
MIDDLE EAST PEACE
2:09 p.m. EST
QUESTION: Mark, I wonder if you have any comment. The Israelis – according to the Israeli press, Israel is planning, for the first time in ten years, to expand the Jewish settlement in Hebron. First of all, are you aware of this report? And second, do you have a comment on this?
MR TONER: Well, we have seen those reports, Said, that the Israelis are considering – plan to build homes for Israeli settlers in a military compound in Hebron. Certainly if these reports are true, it would appear to be an effort to expand civilian Israeli settlement in the city of Hebron, and that would represent a deeply concerning step of settlement expansions – settlement expansion, rather, on land that is at least partially owned by the Palestinians. As you know, we strongly oppose all settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. And we’ve said repeatedly such moves are not consistent with Israel’s stated desire to achieve a two-state solution.
QUESTION: And I just – if I could follow up – also Israel issued orders also in Hebron, in the hills of Hebron, for the – to demolish seven homes and to throw out seven families and so on, in a town that is actually not – it’s a small town under the – I think, under the authority of the Palestinian Authority. So do you have any comment on that?
MR TONER: You’re talking about, I think, Hebron hills.
QUESTION: Yes, the Hebron hills. Yes.
MR TONER: We’re concerned by the accelerated rate of demolitions undertaken by Israeli authorities that continue, not just specifically in Hebron hills, but, frankly, throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And we raise those concerns with Israeli authorities.
QUESTION: And lastly, on the administrative detention, apparently Israel is re-arresting Palestinians who have been released and they just – under administrative detention. I wonder if you have any comment on that, considering that the UN is calling on Israel to end the practice of administrative detention.
MR TONER: Well, I think, in general, we obviously believe all individuals should be treated humanely and have their basic human rights respected and upheld. With regard to the UN’s statement – I think it was about a hunger striker --
QUESTION: And also – this also.
MR TONER: Right. You know our concern about administrative detention has to do with, as I said, concerns about the fact that all prisoners, all individuals, should be treated humanely and have their basic human rights upheld. With regard to the resolution of any hunger strike, we’d like to see a resolution that does not result in the loss of life.
QUESTION: Okay. But I’ve asked this over the years --
MR TONER: I know.
QUESTION: -- on the issue of administrative detentions. What is the United States position on administrative detentions, especially that it goes on month after month, year after year, sometimes for decades, without prisoners being charged with anything?
MR TONER: Well, again, we respect Israel’s right to provide for the security of its citizens and take steps in that regard, but I think with administrative detention, we always have concerns where we – or we always, I think, raise concerns that we may have regarding overly long administrative detentions, ones that don’t seem to be resolved in any kind of expedient fashion, or, as I said, don’t appear to respect – and when I say this I mean in terms of length, duration – but don’t seem to respect the individual rights of those who are being detained.