"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney 4/3/2014
Q. Thanks, Jay. Israel has called off the release of Palestinian prisoners meant to advance the peacemaking process in that region, and called for review of the talks which are sponsored by the U.S. Does that mean this initiative is dead? And what’s the lesson from that?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I’ve seen the reports that you mention but I can’t independently confirm them. I think that was just prior to my coming out here. I can certainly tell you that the decision by the Israelis to delay the release of the fourth tranche of prisoners creates challenges. And there certainly is currently no agreement on the release of this tranche.
More broadly, I can tell you that the dialogue remains open, and there has been progress in narrowing some of the questions that have arisen as a result of the events of the last few days. Our negotiating team met with the Israelis and Palestinians together last night. Neither side has indicated that they want to walk away from the talks; they both indicated they want to find a way to move forward.
So despite the fact that there has been some progress, there is still a gap, and the Israelis and Palestinians must decide whether they will take the necessary steps to close that gap. These are decisions and steps that the United States cannot make; only the parties themselves can make them. The United States cannot impose an agreement on either side. I think the parties understand what the choices are, and the fact that neither the United States nor any other country can make those choices for them. So we will continue working with the parties to try to narrow the gaps and seek a just and lasting resolution to this issue.
And if I could say more broadly that we are doing that because it’s the right thing to do. It’s certainly not the easy thing to do. It’s certainly not a path you pursue because you know for sure it will lead to success. In fact, history suggests that getting to success on this particularly difficult issue is very hard. But it is the responsibility of the United States, the President and Secretary Kerry believe, to provide leadership in this instance to see if the U.S. can help the parties narrow the gaps and move forward towards a comprehensive peace.
Q The discussion over the last couple of days of Jonathan Pollard and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, you suggested that that is something that the Israelis always bring up. But there are also suggestions that the U.S. offered this as a way to get the negotiations back on track. Is that the case?
MR. CARNEY: Bill, what I can affirm to you is that the issue of Jonathan Pollard and his disposition is something that has been frequently raised by Israeli officials. And all I can tell you is that the President has not made a decision to release Mr. Pollard, and that he is continuing to serve his sentence having been convicted of espionage.
Q Was his release something that the United States suggested in order to move forward --
MR. CARNEY: Again, it would be hard for us to suggest something that is raised with some frequency by the Israelis.
Q No, it wouldn’t. All you have to do is raise it.
MR. CARNEY: Well, again, it has been raised frequently -- and I don’t think anybody who covers these issues would dispute that -- by the Israelis. So having said that, I’m not going to get into the conversations and discussions and negotiations that Secretary Kerry has had with the parties.
Q And when you speak of releasing Pollard, you mean commutation of sentence, right? You don’t mean a pardon.
MR. CARNEY: I’d refer you to the Department of Justice for his status. And I’m not going to get into the details of conversations that Secretary Kerry has had with the parties.