Mark C. Toner

Deputy Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC

October 6, 2015






2:08 p.m. EST


QUESTION: There are a flurry of reports there that said that your policy regarding settlements has changed or been altered in such a way so that – in that you have delivered some kind of an ultimatum to the Israeli Government that if they make any major announcements, that you will not veto a resolution – a UN resolution that would call – a Security Council resolution that would call them illegal. Is that correct?

MR TONER: I’m aware of those press reports, Matt. That report, I can say, is false. Our position on settlements is well known, hasn’t changed. We convey it regularly to the Israeli Government. And I know we don’t generally comment on private conversations, but I’d like to nip that story in the bud. We haven’t issued any kind of ultimatum on this.

QUESTION: Okay. And – so the position of the Administration remains that settlements are illegitimate. You think they’re unhelpful —

MR TONER: Right.

QUESTION: — and not constructive to whatever is left of the peace process, but also —

MR TONER: Right.

QUESTION: — you will still – or there has not been any kind of a decision made not to veto a resolution that would – a UN resolution on this – on this —

MR TONER: No, and I mean, there’s not even a resolution out there right now. So I mean, I don’t want to speak about something in the abstract.


QUESTION: Related to that, would you welcome the Israeli announcement of the lifting of the restriction from Muslim worship at al-Aqsa compound? Is it – I mean, does it fit into the return of the status quo you were calling for?

MR TONER: Without knowing all the details, it sounds in keeping with what we’ve been calling for, which is for both sides – all sides, frankly – to find a way to – back to full restoration of the status quo at the Temple Mount, al-Sharif – Haram al-Sharif. That’s – that sounds like a step in the right direction or in that direction.