State Department hits bottom, digs deeperWhich Republican candidate is going to be all over this first?
The following is a partial transcript of a press briefing at the US State Department a few hours ago (Hat Tip: Joe L).
Q: Yesterday there was a bit of a kerfuffle over an announcement that was made by the department about the travel of your boss. Is it the State Department's position that Jerusalem is not part of Israel?I'm embedding the video of the briefing below. The questioning starts at 20:48 and goes until 22:40. They come back to it later at 43:45. The questioner in each case is Matthew Lee of the AP. There's also a good exchange with Lee about the P-5+1 negotiations in the 24:45 area.
MS. NULAND: Well, you know that our position on Jerusalem has not changed. The first media note was issued in error, without appropriate clearances. We reissued the note to make clear that undersecretary, acting undersecretary for -- our -- Kathy Stevens will be travelling to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. With regard to our Jerusalem policy, it's a permanent-status issue. It's got to be resolved through the negotiations between the parties.
Q: Is it the view of the -- of the United States that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, notwithstanding the question about the embassy -- the location of the U.S. embassy?
MS. NULAND: We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem.
Q: Does that -- does that mean that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Jerusalem is a permanent-status issue. It's got to be resolved through negotiations.
Q: That seems to suggest that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Is that correct or not?
MS. NULAND: I have just spoken to this issue --
MS. NULAND: -- and I have nothing further to say on it.
Q: You've spoken to the issue --
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
Q: -- but (haven't answered ?) the question. And I think there's a lot of people out there who are interested in hearing a real answer and not saying -- and not trying to duck and say that this has got to be resolved by negotiations between the two sides.
MS. NULAND: That is our --
Q: What is the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is that it has to be solved through negotiations. That's all I have to say on this issue.
Q: What is the capital of Israel according --
MS. NULAND: Our embassy, as you know, is located in Tel Aviv.
Q: So does that mean you regard Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: The issue on Jerusalem has to be settled through negotiations.
Q: I just want to go back to -- I want to clarify something, perhaps give you an "out" on your Jerusalem answer. Is it your -- is it your position that all of Jerusalem is a final-status issue, or do you think -- or is it just East Jerusalem?
MS. NULAND: Matt, I don't have anything further to what I've said 17 times on that subject. OK?
Q: All right. So hold on. So I just want to make sure. You're saying that all of Jerusalem, not just East Jerusalem, is a final-status issue.
MS. NULAND: Matt, I don't have anything further on Jerusalem to what I've already said.
Let's go to the videotape. For those who don't have the patience, there's an edited version below.
Full text of the video is here.
You also may want to see this memo from 1962, which shows that 50 years ago (when there were 11 countries that had their embassies in Jerusalem), the US had a policy of discouraging other countries from locating their embassies in Jerusalem. Of course, in 1962, 'east' Jerusalem was occupied by Jordan.
Hussein Obama says that Jerusalem 'must remain united,' and then he says that he has Israel's back. What could go wrong?
UPDATE 1:46 AM
Here's an edited version of the video with just the Jerusalem parts.
Let's go to the videotape.
It is true that in the early 1960's (and probably going back before that to David Ben Gurion declaring Jerusalem the capital in 1949), the US position was that all of Jerusalem was to be the subject of negotiations. But for at least the 20 years before President Obama took office, the US position SEEMED to be that it was only 'east' Jerusalem that was the subject of negotiations. In fact, the US bought land on which to locate an embassy several years ago. It's in 'west' Jerusalem.
UPDATE 3:31 AM
Welcome Power Line readers.
You may also want to see this update.