Jen Psaki
Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC

October 31, 2014





2:34 p.m. EDT


QUESTION: Can we go to the Palestinian issue?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Okay. First of all, the Secretary Kerry called Abbas today, and can you share with us —

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: — if there’s a readout?

MS. PSAKI: You want a readout of —

QUESTION: Yes, right.

MS. PSAKI: And he also spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu, I believe, it was last night. Let me just make sure.


MS. PSAKI: Here’s my little call cheat sheet. You just caught me. Okay.


MS. PSAKI: Secretary Kerry spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu last night and discussed the situation in Jerusalem and the importance of de-escalating tensions. The Secretary emphasized the importance of refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserving the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. He also spoke with President Abbas this morning. He expressed his serious concern about the escalating tensions in Jerusalem. He stressed the importance of both sides taking steps to calm the situation, refrain from actions and rhetoric that could enflame the situation, and work cooperatively to lower tensions and discourage violence.

QUESTION: Are you doing anything else to lower tensions, I mean, other than just talking to the leaders?

MS. PSAKI: Well, certainly, talking to the leaders – and given Secretary Kerry’s strong relationship with them – we feel is an important component of what we’re doing. Obviously, on the ground, we’re continuing to encourage that directly with many counterparts in the Israeli Government and with the Palestinians as well.

QUESTION: And let me ask you: A Kuwaiti newspaper is saying that a high-level Palestinian delegation will be here on Monday. Can you tell us anything about that?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Secretary Kerry will meet with Saeb Erekat on Monday, November 3rd. They plan to discuss the way forward for the Middle East, the situation in Gaza, and lowering tensions in Jerusalem.

QUESTION: Okay. And finally —

QUESTION: (Inaudible) delegation next week?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have additional details on the delegation. I’d certainly ask the Palestinians that.

QUESTION: And finally, I wanted to ask you – I know that it’s not something —

QUESTION: Can we just stay on – is this still on Israel?

QUESTION: Yeah, yeah. I just want to – on the – the status of Jerusalem is going to be before the Supreme Court on Monday. I know this is just beginning.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I wonder if you had a chance to look at this issue and have anything else to add.

MS. PSAKI: Well, this is an ongoing legal proceeding, as you know, so I’m not going to have —


MS. PSAKI: — additional comment. We have filed – made numerous filings in this case, and certainly would refer you to those briefs for details of our positions. Obviously, the Department of Justice has the lead.

QUESTION: For Israelis that are born in Tel Aviv, does it say Tel Aviv, Israel?

MS. PSAKI: I would point you to the Department of Justice for —

QUESTION: Or does it say Israel? No, on the passports. This is a —

MS. PSAKI: I would point you to the Department of Justice —

QUESTION: — State Department issue, isn’t it?

MS. PSAKI: — for details on the case.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Just back to the phone call with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Could you say whether the issue of these comments, these un-named U.S. officials with the “chicken bleep” comments that – whether that came up and whether Secretary Kerry expressed any disappointment with them or that they don’t reflect —

MS. PSAKI: Let me check with him. I didn’t have a chance to ask him that question this morning.

QUESTION: Okay. Because there were some reports that, in fact —

QUESTION: Haaretz is reporting.

QUESTION: Yeah, he raised it and that Kerry kind of apologized for that —

MS. PSAKI: I wouldn’t be surprised if Kerry reiterated what he said many times publicly, which is that these don’t represent his views or the President’s views. But I’ll check with him.

QUESTION: But would you be surprised if he apologized to Prime Minister Netanyahu?

MS. PSAKI: I think he likely reiterated just as I said.


QUESTION: Well, one more on Israel.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: The Israeli finance minister vetoed today new spending on infrastructure for Jewish settlement in the West Bank. How do you view this step?

MS. PSAKI: I hadn’t seen that report. I’m happy to check on it.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: I just wanted to ask you again on the issue of someone – if a U.S. citizen was born or naturalized, let’s say, in Bombay, India. Does it say “India” or does it say “Bombay, India”?

MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check on that for you, Said.

QUESTION: Okay. Because, I mean, I want to ask about this issue —

MS. PSAKI: Said, I’m sorry. We have to move on because it’s Friday afternoon.