Have you seen Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s No Jews video yet?
The US administration has…and, don’t let Press Relations Director Elizabeth Trudeau’s robotic delivery fool you – they really hate it.
QUESTION: You may have seen – I think you have seen this video that Prime Minister Netanyahu has put out today in social media talking about settlements and talking about the Palestinians wanting to have a state that is – that has no Jews in it at all and saying that this is ethnic cleansing. And he also complains that – well, he says that that demand is outrageous, that it’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find it outrageous. And then he says some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage.
So I’m just wondering, do you see yourselves – does the U.S., this Administration, see itself as a target of this accusation? And whether it does or not, what do you make of the general thought expressed?
MS TRUDEAU: So we have seen the Israeli prime minister’s video. We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful. Settlements are a final status issue that must be resolved in negotiations between the parties. We share the view of every past U.S. administration and the strong consensus of the international community that ongoing settlement activity is an obstacle to peace. We continue to call on both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to the two-state solution.
We have repeatedly expressed our strong concerns that trends on the ground continue to move in the opposite direction. Let’s be clear: The undisputed fact is that already this year, thousands of settlement units have been advanced for Israelis in the West Bank, illegal outposts and unauthorized settlement units have been retroactively legalized, more West Bank land has been seized for exclusive Israeli use, and there has been a dramatic escalation of demolitions resulting in over 700 Palestinian structures destroyed, displacing more than 1,000 Palestinians. As we’ve said many times before, this does raise real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.
QUESTION: So you’re not a big fan of the video, I take it?
MS TRUDEAU: Correct.
QUESTION: So have you made your – not you personally, but has the Administration made its feelings clear to – other than your comments just now to the Israelis?
MS TRUDEAU: Yes. We are engaging in direct conversations with the Israeli Government on this.
QUESTION: And I mean, is there anything that you can do? I mean, he said this; he apparently believes it and it’s a pretty strong sentiment. You – even though disagree with it, I mean, what have you asked him to do? I mean, have you asked him to walk it back at all or —
MS TRUDEAU: I’m not going to get into our diplomatic discussions. What I would say is: unhelpful, it’s inappropriate. We’ll have our conversation with our Israeli allies and friends and we’ll see where that goes.
QUESTION: Do you —
QUESTION: What level is that —
QUESTION: Do you believe —
MS TRUDEAU: One second.
QUESTION: Do you believe that he was referring to the United States when he talked about some otherwise enlightened countries?
MS TRUDEAU: We would disagree with his broad assessment that – or the broad assertation – I won’t say assessment – that members of the international community who have expressed concerns on settlements are somehow expressing this view.
QUESTION: All right, but —
MS TRUDEAU: Oh, I’m sorry, go ahead.
QUESTION: But you don’t dispute that you might be otherwise enlightened.
MS TRUDEAU: I am confident in our interpretation of his comments. Nick.
QUESTION: What level are those discussions happening at? Who is doing the discussing?
MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. I’m not going to read out those, but we are in direct contact with the Israelis.
If only they reacted to the constant incitement by the palestinians with the same level of condemnation.
I think the video is a stroke of genius. I believe Bibi knew it would elicit this reaction from the US, but went ahead nonetheless, knowing it would get more buzz and bring the very pertinent point he is making to the attention of many people around the world.
And it seems to be working. I mean, even William Booth of the Washington Post dedicated an entire article to it.