As we know, three Arabs were shot and killed during huge, violent riots, when the Israeli border police tried to arrest a terrorist suspect in Qalandiya Refugee camp. Almost immediately their media reported:
The PA has canceled peace talks scheduled for today following the killing of three palestinians in the Qalandia refugee camp.
Except it turns out there were scheduled talks, they were not cancelled and they went ahead completely as normal. So, clearly, the PA lied (probably to have something to tell their own Arab “street”).
Jump now to the US State Department briefing and the best damn reporter in the whole wide world. Mr Matt Lee of the AP. You can see the whole clip here (jump to 22:55 if you want) but I’ve selected something right from the end. Matt has already spent 10 minutes trying to get an answer out of Spokeshole Harf without much success.
QUESTION: Except that I do know the specifics and I know why you’re being so reluctant. So – but I just wish you would be clear, because clearing up – there is one side in this situation that is not telling the truth. It’s not the American –
QUESTION: This side. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: No, it’s not the American side and it’s not the Israeli side. So why don’t we just come out –
MS. HARF: Is there a question?
QUESTION: Yeah. Why don’t you just come out and call a spade a spade? Why not just come out and clear the air and say this is what’s going on, and that’s it?
MS. HARF: Because we’ve been clear that all of these issues – that these negotiations and all of the sticky issues around the logistics and the substance and all of that is going to be discussed privately to give them the best chance of success.
QUESTION: But you know what the –
MS. HARF: So I know it’s frustrating to you, but –
QUESTION: Okay. Okay, listen –
MS. HARF: – this is all – wait, let me finish, Matt.
QUESTION: Listen, but no one is asking about –
MS. HARF: Can I finish, Matt, please?
QUESTION: – the specifics about what is being talked about.
MS. HARF: You’re asking about a lot of specifics –
QUESTION: No –
MS. HARF: – about logistics and –
QUESTION: Specifics of what? This is –
MS. HARF: And honestly, logistics matter in the Middle East peace process. We’ve all followed this. It’s not just who was at the meeting and who sat at the table. Every single piece of this is sensitive and is part of very delicate negotiations that, as we’ve seen for decades, haven’t worked. So we want to keep everything as discrete and private as possible to give us the best chance of finally succeeding with this. So I’m sorry that I can’t tell you what time a meeting started and what time it ended, but there’s a good reason for it.
QUESTION: All right. Well –
MS. HARF: And it’s to give it a chance for success.
QUESTION: Sorry. No one asked what time it started and what time it ended. We just wanted to know – one side came out –
MS. HARF: Again –
QUESTION: – and said that the meeting had been canceled. You’re saying nothing has been canceled, but you won’t say that the meeting took place.
MS. HARF: Again –
QUESTION: There’s a lot of wiggle room in that statement, and that is the problem.
MS. HARF: I don’t have anything further for you on this.
Hat tip: Israel Matzav.