US Department of State daily press briefing – Middle East peace process – Non-UN document (excerpts)

Jen Psaki

Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC

March 11, 2014

Index for Today's Briefing


  • Recent Violence / Allenby Crossing Incident
  • Secretary Kerry's Commitment to Middle East Peace Process



1:05 p.m. EST


QUESTION: Can we go to the Israeli-Palestinians?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Israeli bombed Gaza, killing three people in Rafah. They also killed a Jordanian citizen – Jordanian judge crossing the Allenby bridge. They also killed another Palestinian in the West Bank. There’s been an escalation of these incidents. Are you concerned that these somehow might obfuscate the process itself or cast difficulties for the process?

MS. PSAKI: For the peace process?

QUESTION: For the ongoing negotiations.

MS. PSAKI: Well, let me first say that we’ve seen reports of each of these incidents. As you noted, there are several different incidents with different circumstances —

QUESTION: Right, within —

MS. PSAKI: — for each of them.

QUESTION: — a 24-hour period.

MS. PSAKI: Well, but they all have different circumstances.


MS. PSAKI: So I would caution anyone against linking everything in – to one group.

We express, of course, our condolences to the families of the deceased and call upon the parties to take steps to reduce tensions and avoid actions that could make violence more likely.

We also note, in the case of the incident at the Allenby crossing, the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu offered regrets. He had a public comment – statement he made and has agreed to a joint committee to investigate the incident. We’re not going to analyze or speculate how every event may impact events. I would just simply reiterate that, of course, our thoughts are with the families and we certainly encourage investigations into these cases.

QUESTION: Are you concerned or would you caution the Israelis against attacking Gaza, let’s say, while Abbas prepares to come to Washington or during his visit?

MS. PSAKI: We certainly encourage both sides to continue to take steps that are conducive to a peace process.

QUESTION: Okay. Also, the Israeli Democratic Institute did a – not – a survey, and they found out that 64 percent of Israelis do not trust Secretary Kerry, that whatever motivation, according to them, he has, it is personally motivated and it’s not for the good outcome of the two-state solution. Do you have any comment on that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I have not seen that poll and I’m not familiar with the polling data. But let me just reiterate to anybody who has concerns or is skeptical out there: Secretary Kerry is committed to this process because he has worked and known many people in the region, Israelis and Palestinians both, for his 30 years in public service. He thinks that the future for the region will be greatly benefited by a final status agreement between the parties, whether that’s the security of the Israelis or the economic prosperity of the Palestinians and the future of the region. And that’s why he’s engaged in it, so hopefully people will remember that when they feel skeptical.

QUESTION: Okay. Is the president of the Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas, expected to meet separately in this building with the Secretary of State?

MS. PSAKI: Said, we’re still figuring out the schedule for Monday. I know we had a separate meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I’m sure if time allows —

QUESTION: I know, exactly. That’s why I’m asking.

MS. PSAKI: But obviously, we’ll have more on that later in the week.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Do you know anything about this report in an Israeli paper – your favorite Israeli paper, I believe, Maariv – that the U.S. now has some kind of a presumption of denial for visa applications from Israeli intel and military types? And I’m – I want to make it clear I’m not asking about any individual visa case.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I’m asking in terms of a broad policy.

MS. PSAKI: I have seen that and it was flagged for me, and I actually didn’t have a chance to ask the appropriate people, so let me do that after the briefing, Matt, for you and anyone else who’s interested in that.

QUESTION: And this will go – maybe a few days back I think it was raised —

MS. PSAKI: It was – okay.

QUESTION: — on this issue and —

MS. PSAKI: Sure. We’ll look at it a few days back.

QUESTION: I don’t think it has been raised in this briefing.

QUESTION: Yes, it was.

MS. PSAKI: That issue?

QUESTION: On the – on Israeli intelligence and Mossad agents and so on disallow – being denied a visa, yes, it was.

MS. PSAKI: I think you are right, so I have a responsibility to get back to all of you.

QUESTION: Did you – but did you have an answer then?

MS. PSAKI: I did not.


MS. PSAKI: I did not, so that is on me. Thank you, Said.



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