Daily Press Briefing
March 9, 2016
INDEX FOR TODAY'S BRIEFING
MIDDLE EAST PEACE
2:11 p.m. EST
QUESTION: I’ve got two extremely brief ones. One, on Israel as it relates to the American citizen who was killed in this attack at —
MR KIRBY: Yeah.
QUESTION: – Jaffa yesterday, do you have any more detail on that? And is – apart from what you regularly – the department and the embassy and the consulate do normally, I know and understand that the Vice President is there and he’s spoken to it and everything. But has there been anything else done, like has the Secretary called – made any calls, or is this basically because the Vice President’s there, he – the White House is handling this specific incident?
MR KIRBY: Well, you’re right. I mean, the Vice President is there and I know that he has certainly spoken to this. I don’t have a whole lot of additional detail to offer. Mr. Force’s name is out there, as you know. We are aware of reports that at least another one single American might have been injured. I don’t have any more detail on that, but we’re obviously working with Israeli authorities to learn as much as we can. And we are, of course, providing consular assistance to the families. And again, I want to express, as I did the other day, our deepest condolences and sympathies. And I don’t have additional details about the attack itself, though.
QUESTION: All right. In his comments with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Vice President was critical of the Palestinian Authority for not condemning or not being condemnatory enough about this. I presume that this building shares the Vice President’s sentiments on this. But I want to go – so that’s the first question: Do you?
And then the second question is: This is not the first American citizen who has been killed in these circumstances – these kinds of – kind of circumstances, and you routinely say that there needs to be an end to an incitement – an end to incitement. But in this case, the arms of the Palestinian Authority seem to have congratulated him, the assailant, as a martyr, as – and this is an American citizen we’re talking about, so it’s – this person is your responsibility, for lack of a better word. Is it – is there anything more that you think you can do to tamp down the incitement?
MR KIRBY: Well, so first – to your first question, we absolutely agree with the Vice President. And as we – we condemn these attacks. I know he did, but he also, as you said, condemned the failure to condemn the attacks, and we share those sentiments. We agree with him. We’ve consistently called on the Palestinians to condemn the violence, and this incident is no different. There just can’t be any justification for this kind of hateful violence. And I would say that we have raised our concerns about this particular incident with the Palestinians, in addition to the Vice President doing it. We have.
QUESTION: Okay. Then can you elaborate a little bit?
MR KIRBY: I won’t – I’d rather not elaborate with any more detail, but I can tell you that in addition to him raising it, we have raised it. And I’ll let the Vice President’s office speak to more detail about his conversations. But it’s absolutely unacceptable.
And your second question, what more can you do – I mean, we’re going to – we’re obviously going to continue to press the case here that incitement is intolerable.
MR KIRBY: From —
QUESTION: But is there any consequence that the Administration would be willing to consider?
MR KIRBY: I don’t want to speculate, and I certainly don’t want to get ahead of decisions that haven’t been made yet or may be made, and I just – I don’t think that’s a healthy thing. But I can tell you that it certainly has everybody’s attention here in Washington at the very highest levels. And you can hear that sense of frustration just listening to how the Vice President talked about it.
QUESTION: Right. On the other side of the coin, there have also been incidents in which Israeli authorities have – you have complained about Israeli authorities’ treatment of Palestinian Americans.
MR KIRBY: Yeah.
QUESTION: Not just at the airport or in transit or things like that, but also in custody. So I guess a similar question: Is the Administration willing to consider any consequence for that?
MR KIRBY: Again, I think my answer will be the same.
QUESTION: All right.
MR KIRBY: We – you’re right, we have been open and honest about our concerns with respect to certain issues of treatment of Palestinians. And we’re not going to shy away from continuing to express our concerns when we have them. But I wouldn’t get ahead of speculative or hypothetical reactions to it.
Document Type: Briefing, Press briefing, Transcript
Document Sources: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
Subject: Casualties, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Incidents, Prisoners and detainees, Security issues, Terrorism
Publication Date: 09/03/2016