Daily Press Briefing
January 8, 2015
INDEX FOR TODAY'S BRIEFING
1:27 p.m. EST
QUESTION: — Turkey, the Turkish foreign minister has said that the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, is welcome in Turkey anytime he wants to – any time he wants to go. Do you have any thoughts about that, given the fact that he is —
MS. PSAKI: I spoke to this a little bit yesterday, but it wasn’t asked in the exact same way. Our position on Hamas has not changed. Hamas is a designated foreign terrorist organization that continues to engage in terrorist activity and demonstrate its intentions during the summer’s conflict in – with Israel. We continue to raise our concerns about the relationship between Hamas and Turkey with senior Turkish officials, including after learning of Meshaal’s recent visit there. And we have urged the Government of Turkey to press Hamas to reduce tensions and prevent violence.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, is there any – I mean, I don’t get it. This guy is the leader of a terrorist organization. If Ayman Zawahiri showed up in Turkey, would you have a similar muted response? I mean —
MS. PSAKI: I don’t think that’s a muted response. Obviously, we look at each situation case by case.
QUESTION: Well, this is a NATO ally and they seem to be —
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
QUESTION: — they’re hosting and seem to be willing and happy to host the leader of a group that you deem a foreign terrorist organization. So is Hamas somehow less bad than other – other groups that are on the FTO list?
MS. PSAKI: I just conveyed we expressed our concern. We’ll continue to have that discussion with Turkey.
QUESTION: Can I ask in a different way, slightly – the other side of the coin? Could the hosting of somebody like Khaled Meshaal place Turkey in some jeopardy of finding itself on the list of nations that sponsor state terrorism or states that sponsor terrorism?
MS. PSAKI: I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion. Obviously, there are a range of criteria that are looked at in that regard. So I —
QUESTION: Well, you remember the famous Bush doctrine: If you clothe, feed, or harbor a terrorist, you are a terrorist. Does that doctrine still hold?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t think we’ve repeated that exactly. There’s obviously criteria that we look at as it relates to designating countries or individuals. We’re not looking at that as it relates to Turkey.
QUESTION: Well, welcoming —
MS. PSAKI: Obviously, we’re concerned about this.
QUESTION: Well, welcoming the leader of a group that you’ve designated a foreign terrorist organization would certainly seem to be supporting it.
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt —
MS. PSAKI: — obviously we’ve expressed our concerns. There hasn’t been action that we have knowledge of to confirm about where his whereabouts are, so —
QUESTION: But you just said that you knew – that you raised your concerns with him when you found out that he was there a couple —
MS. PSAKI: That he recently visited. Yes, we did.
QUESTION: Yeah, but I mean, that’s it? It’s okay?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t think I said it was okay.
QUESTION: Well, no —
MS. PSAKI: Pam, do —
QUESTION: — I know. But there isn’t any consequence, then, except for you saying that we’re concerned about —
MS. PSAKI: I —
QUESTION: All right.
MS. PSAKI: We’re going to have private discussions. We have to wrap this up.
QUESTION: All right. I’ve got one more.
MS. PSAKI: Okay.
QUESTION: It’ll be brief. And that is that I read the taken question that you put out on —
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: It’s a fuller explanation of your position —
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
QUESTION: — on the Palestinians and the ICC. And I’m just wondering: In any of this, which you – this is your opinion, that the U.S. – you don’t believe the Palestinians are eligible to join. But is there anything that the United States can do to stop the Palestinians from doing this? I mean, opinions are like noses, right? Everyone’s got one, but does this one – does your opinion on this make any difference since you’re not a member?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to do the analysis of what influence our opinion has, Matt. You can ask other people that question.
QUESTION: And there are some unfortunate people without noses.
QUESTION: I suppose, but everyone usually —
MS. PSAKI: That is true. It’s a different question, but —
QUESTION: Most people are born with them. Anyway, the – in addition to submitting – well, the deal is that the ICC has welcomed them as the 123rd member state of the court, of the Statute of Rome, whether you think that they’re eligible or not.
MS. PSAKI: Well, wait a second, Matt. They – there is documents —
QUESTION: I’m looking at —
MS. PSAKI: — that are submitted to Ban Ki-moon. There is a decision that will be made by member organizations. I don’t think that’s an accurate interpretation of where things stand.
QUESTION: Well, I think the decision has already been made. I mean, the letter from the president of the court to President Abbas says that, “I confirm receipt,” and here – and basically you’re in, and then he also says that they confirm receipt of a letter that the Palestinians have sent to them giving the ICC jurisdiction back to June – just before the Gaza war – back to June of 2014. Do you have any opinion about that, and if – even if you do, does it make any difference?
MS. PSAKI: Well, let us take a closer look at that, because that’s not my understanding of where – the status of where things are at this point in the decision making.
QUESTION: All right.
MS. PSAKI: Okay, last one. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Okay, so this just popped up, so you may not have a response at this point. But there is reports that a 25-year-old American student was stabbed in Jerusalem and wounded from that attack. Are – is this something that you have any comment on? Are you in touch with the Israelis about this particular case?
MS. PSAKI: We didn’t have more information. We didn’t have an indication – obviously, this just happened – that there was an American citizen involved. So we will take a closer look at it and see if we can get more information.