"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
ISRAEL / PALESTINIANS / EREKAT / SETTLEMENTS
1:41 p.m. EDT
QUESTION: Can we go to the Palestinian issue?
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: First of all, can you confirm whether the Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat actually is in town and meeting with the Secretary of State?
MS. PSAKI: I can, Said. Erekat and Faraj will be in town tomorrow meeting with Secretary Kerry. I’m not sure when they’re arriving in town, so I’m not – and I’m not going to speculate on what issues they may or may not raise with the Secretary, but --
QUESTION: Okay. Now, Palestinian sources say that Erekat is bringing with him a proposal, a request, or a demand, whatever you want to call it, that there be some sort of a timetable to end the occupation. Would you the United States of America support such a thing?
MS. PSAKI: Again, they can raise a range of issues that they’re – of course, that they would like to raise. That’s why the Secretary’s meeting with them. Our position hasn’t changed on this. Neither has it changed on our opposition to actions by the Palestinians at the ICC.
QUESTION: But you certainly believe that the sooner the occupation ends, the better. Correct?
MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, again, I think you’re familiar with our positions on this. Nothing has changed, so – go ahead.
QUESTION: Let me ask you about the settlement. There was an announcement on a huge settlement this weekend --
MS. PSAKI: We put out a statement today.
QUESTION: Yeah, you put out the statement, and to use Matt’s words, do you think that had some sort of an impact on the tactical and strategic thinking of the Israeli Government or on Mr. Netanyahu?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I can’t speak to that, Said. I think obviously, the United States and Israel has an important strategic relationship, one the United States values and one that Israel values. But it’s important for us to also note when we have concerns about steps that are taken.
QUESTION: So the concerns that you expressed in your – in the statement that came out just before the briefing are – they’re pretty much a standard recitation of what you say every time the Israelis announce new settlement construction or new construction in East Jerusalem or whatever, which, frankly, over the years is lost – kind of lost track of the number of critical statements that the State Department has put out. Is there any reason that this time it’s going to be different? I mean, this is a pretty big swath of land, almost a thousand acres. The Europeans have used a little bit stronger – in the roulette game of which word do we use – condemn, deplore, we’re deeply concerned, that kind of thing, yours is a concern – or troubled, or whatever it was, concerned – they use deplore. I’m just wondering, what – is there going to be any consequence to this if they keep – continue to defy what you think is – not only what you want but what you think is also best for a two-state solution, which is what everyone says they want?
MS. PSAKI: Well, one, Ambassador Shapiro relayed our concerns over the weekend. Secretary Kerry is speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu today, and certainly this will be a topic of discussion. Beyond that, I’m not going to, of course, read out our diplomatic engagement on issues like this. I’m not – I think expressing our concern about actions that are taken is still an important message that we’re sending about how we view these actions. In terms of other components and the impact on a two-state solution, obviously two-state solution requires two parties to agree, and we’re all familiar with the view of the Palestinians about this continued settlement activity and the impact it has on their interest in pursuing that.
QUESTION: Well, do you believe that either the Israelis or the Palestinians at the moment have a partner for peace, that either side does?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think if both sides were willing to make the tough choices required that perhaps the negotiations would be ongoing.
QUESTION: Right, but --
MS. PSAKI: They’re not, as you know by now.
QUESTION: Okay, so neither side is a partner for peace at the moment. Is that --
MS. PSAKI: Well, there aren’t active negotiations.
QUESTION: All right. And do you know, has the Secretary actually already spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu? Or is that something that was supposed to be happening --
MS. PSAKI: It’s planned for this afternoon. I don’t have an exact time for it.
QUESTION: Jen --
QUESTION: Do you have any reason to believe, based on the conversation that Ambassador Shapiro had and whatever other conversations there have had – the American officials have had with the Israelis, that they intend to do what you or that they’re even considering what you want them to do, what you said in the statement, which is to reverse this decision?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to make a prediction of that, Matt.
QUESTION: So you don’t have any reason to believe that they might?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more to lay out for you in terms of their plans.
QUESTION: Can I go --
MS. PSAKI: I would point you to them.
QUESTION: Can I go back to the meeting tomorrow with --
QUESTION: -- Saeb Erekat?
QUESTION: When was the last time that the Secretary met with any of the Palestinian negotiators or President Abbas? Was that the London meeting in May?
MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check on that for you, Jo. I think it’s been more recently than that. He’s certainly spoken with a range of officials over the course of that time. But I can check for you over the summer.
QUESTION: Okay. And who requested the meeting? Was it the Palestinians or was it the Secretary?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have other details on the Palestinians meeting – or visit to Washington and what else they’ll be doing here. I can see if there’s more we can lay out in that regard.
QUESTION: Do you know what the topic of the – can you tell us what the topic of the conversation is going to be?
MS. PSAKI: I think they’ll talk about a range of issues. There’s obviously an ongoing cease-fire discussion and upcoming negotiations that will take place. There’s a range of longer-term issues. But beyond that, I don’t have anything to predict for you.
QUESTION: And Hanan Ashrawi yesterday – one of the Palestinian negotiators – said at the UN that the Palestinians are – picking up on Said’s questions – the Palestinians are actually putting – trying to put forward a UN resolution to set a three-year deadline to end the Israeli occupation. She said for you that the United States will certainly veto it. Is that correct? Is she correct in her assumption that the United States would veto such a resolution?
MS. PSAKI: I think you’re familiar with our history. I don’t think anything will change in that regard.
QUESTION: But a three-year deadline would be – would give you three years to work out a comprehensive peace treaty, no?
MS. PSAKI: I think we’ve – our view has long been that there are a range of productive ways to have discussions about how to achieve a two-state solution, and typically that’s not through international governing bodies.