Daily Press Briefing
February 3, 2015
INDEX FOR TODAY'S BRIEFING
MIDDLE EAST PEACE
1:07 p.m. EST
QUESTION: Palestinian occupied territories.
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: The Israelis withheld again another $100 million of tax – Palestinian tax money. I wonder if you have spoken with them or have you spoken with the Palestinians on this issue on how to release the cash (inaudible)?
MS. PSAKI: We have an ongoing discussion with both the Israelis and the Palestinians. I don’t have any confirmation of what you just stated, but I’m happy to talk to our team about it.
QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up on the UNRWA situation. Now, back on October 12th, the donors agreed to give $5.4 billion on that day, including Qatar and all the donors that were there, including the United States. But UNRWA said thus far they have not received any of the promise or pledged money. Do you have any comment on that?
MS. PSAKI: Well, the United States has certainly delivered on our commitments —
QUESTION: Right, right. You did.
MS. PSAKI: — and we encouraged every country to deliver on their commitments as well.
QUESTION: Jen, last night the head of the UN committee investigating the Gaza flotilla – or, no, sorry – is it the flotilla —
MS. PSAKI: No, Gaza conflict – yes.
QUESTION: — no, Gaza conflict – resigned and Prime Minister Netanyahu said this morning that that resignation should herald the dismantlement of this investigation. Do you agree with that?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we oppose the creation of the commission of inquiry in the first place. So we remain concerned. Given the one-sided nature of the resolution that created the commission of inquiry and the history of the HRC stance on Israel, we still don’t believe that such a mechanism as the commission of inquiry contributes to the shared goal and priority of reaching a sustainable and durable agreement. That has long been – has been consistently our view.
QUESTION: Okay. But I mean, he says that it should be dismantled and gotten rid of completely. Do you agree with that or do you just think that it’s not worthwhile pursuing?
MS. PSAKI: We don’t think it’s the appropriate mechanism.
QUESTION: All right.
MS. PSAKI: I haven’t talked to our team about this dismantlement, but we didn’t support its creation anyway.
QUESTION: Fair enough.
MS. PSAKI: So I think it tells you what —
QUESTION: But on that point, there is a pattern that the Israelis dismiss whatever investigatory effort on their – whatever war that they waged on Gaza or elsewhere. In 2009 they pressured the Goldstone Report and it was dismissed. In 2002, they disallowed a commission from going into Jenin, where a massacre —
MS. PSAKI: Well, I just stated, Said, what the position of the United States is. So that was the question, and that’s what I addressed.
QUESTION: I understand. But why would you oppose – why would the United States oppose a UN commission that is going impartially to investigate crimes that are likely to have been committed?
MS. PSAKI: Because we have concerns about the anti-Israel bias, which we’ve spoken about in the past. We think there’s a range of mechanisms, and this is not the appropriate one.
QUESTION: But when the Israeli prime minister —
MS. PSAKI: I think I’ve addressed the question, Said.