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January 8, 2014 1:42 pm

U.S. State Department Says Won’t Respond to PA Incitement Publicly

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Melanie Harf. Photo: Screenshot.

U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Melanie Harf. Photo: Screenshot.

U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Marie Harf told reporters that she would not comment directly on Israel’s report of incitement from Palestinian Authority leadership, but that rebukes are being made behind closed doors.

At a press briefing in Washington on Monday, Harf said “we make those discussions private,” according to a transcript of her comments.

“I’m not saying we don’t register complaints… I’m just saying we don’t always do it publicly,” she said in response to a reporter’s question.

When pressed to elaborate, Harf continued, “Well, publicly silent is different than privately silent. And again, nobody’s privately silent. If you’ve ever met the Secretary [of State John Kerry] or Ambassador [Martin] Indyk, nobody’s privately silent.”

“In terms of the good – and then I will get back to – I think there was a question somewhere in there – that in terms of good faith, what we’re – how we judge that is that the parties remain at the table negotiating seriously and – no, but they do – seriously, substantively, and we’re making progress towards getting a framework. Going out and saying something in an interview is one thing, but what we’re focused on is, at the table, making progress on getting a framework in place, and then moving forward with the negotiations.”

“What I am saying is that broadly speaking, sometimes we register complaints privately because we think it’s more effective to do it that way, and sometimes we come out publicly and say things as well… But there’s also a difference between commenting when the Secretary is there on the ground having meetings than when he’s not. There’s obviously a delicate dance we’re all doing here,” she said.

On the peace talks, themselves, Harf said, “We narrowed the gaps, but there are still some more gaps that remain, and we’re not going to go into details about where those gaps do remain because we think it would not be helpful to the process.”

On Sunday, Netanyahu said Arab incitement to violence and a failure to recognize Israel as a Jewish state are at the root of the Israel-Arab conflict. His remarks were made at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting where the periodic index of incitement in the Palestinian Authority was discussed.

“To my regret, this incitement is continuing,” Netanyahu said.”We have seen examples in recent days. Opposition to recognizing the Jewish state and our right to be here is continuing,” he said.

“We are not foreigners in Jerusalem, Beit El or Hebron,” Netanyahu said. “I reiterate that in my view, this is the root of both the conflict and the incitement, the non-recognition of this basic fact.”

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  • Irmala

    Marie Harf is publicly and privately and idiot.

  • Gerald Cohen

    Obama and Kerry are in dream land

    the Palestinians refuse one giant issue and that is to recognize Israel as a state. As for the right of return an absurd idea.
    The Palestinians left when Egypt said leave “we will invade and you Palestinians can return”
    the Arab world loves the idea of keeping this mass of people without a state,why do the surrounding Arab countries not accept these people???

  • Jenny P

    Look how nervous spokespeople get when they have to try to hide the fact that they know things aren’t fair to Israel’s well-being, but they don’t dare say that “publicly”!

  • Esther Sarah Evans

    Yup, smug and self-satisfied is the look of those who like to appear intelligent and/or even superior – “above” such things. It doesn’t matter anyway how they react, for the whole thing is “staged”. Even Obama’s script is pretty well written for him, and the string puller will make sure he’s on cue. “Die Gedanken sind frei” is what Harf is saying, but I wouldn’t put any stock in those either. Obama’s and Kerry’s nudging is every bit as much incitement as anything the PA has cooked up to date, but if we are waiting for them to stop and apologize, we had better believe in Moshiach, because he’ll for sure come first, and they will be very surprised and shocked.


    Kerry would love to see Israel disappear.

    He is working with that savage terrorist lover, Abbas, to try to destroy Israel. Now, idiot Kerry wants Israel to take in something like 200000 Palestinians into Israel.
    How dare he even make such a suggestion?
    Why does that swine Abbas, not want to recoghnise Israel as the Jewish state?
    He goes against everything that G-D has said.
    Israel must tell Kerry. “not one palestinian would be allowed into Israel.”
    Abbas said that not one Jew will be alloeed into “palestine” Anyone who sells land to a Jew will be executed.

    That is who Kerry supports.

    Netanyahu, please tell Kerry to stay at home. Israel does not need that idiot to try to destroy Israel

    • Lynne T

      The proposal to transfer the “triangle area” in which about 300,000 Arab Israelis live, to PA control is part of a swap for land on the other side of the border with Israeli Jewish developments, appears to have originated with Avigdor Leiberman, who has long proposed population transfers.

  • sarah kit shapiro

    Reading these comments here in Jerusalem, having witnessed our survival as a nation on any number of occasions when our destruction seemed–to any rational observer–to be imminent and inevitable…I am comforted by all these ever-so-Jewish responses from our brethren across the social, personal, and religious spectrum. The rude and the polite, the diplomatic and the crude, the intellectual and the indignant, the jaded and the hopeful, the detached, the desperate, the skeptical….The common gold thread–glimmering through our multiplicity of perspectives and personalities–is that around the world we are perceiving, as one, an enduring reality.

    • Sydell Gross

      I hope you are right and that with all of the different voices and views we are as one for Israel.

  • Sydell Gross

    If it had been up to the State Department there would never have been an Israel . George Marshall Secretary of State in 1948 pleaded with President Harry Truman not to recognize the Jewish State. However Harry Truman not the State Dept. made the decision to support the right of Israel to exist. The point is that Obama not Kerry Clinton or the State Dept is responsible for Americas actions in the Middle East . It is Obamas call and in my opinion he is no friend to the Israeis
    There is a book “the Arabists” which details the history and anti semitism of the State Dept .It explains their early introduction as missionaries to the Arabs in the area explains their preference for the Arabs

  • dantebenedetti

    kerry proceeds, ignorant of history, oblivious to the fact that he’s not in boston, heedless of the history of the area, indifferent to muslim hatred. he is interested only in something to add to his c.v. he wants a nobel prize and he wants to run, again, for president. what happens after he’s finished his papier mache “peace agreement” is a matter of complete indifference to him. he’s a silly fool. but, because of his position and his arrogance and ignorance, he is dangerous.

  • Avrumeleh

    At some point, can we not be reluctant and say to Mr. Kerry and his boss that their entire enterprise is neither a science nor an art? His undertaking is, in reality, nothing more than groping in the dark and hoping against hope that something will come of it. The truth is that nothing will and so such attention to detail is egomaniacal. The utter arrogance of thinking that we have to keep criticism of Palestinian incitement quiet so as not to offend the sensibilities of those that rejoiced in the release of the murderers of children is just staggering. I guess we are all doomed to having the expectation that the Palestinians are simply uncivilized and will whine without end at any recognition of their incivility. I don’t see Mr. Kerry as a shrinking violet when it come to criticizing Israel in public…loud and clear. Good gosh, when is he going to pull his head out of his art-form?

  • Efram Paul

    I am sure they are communicating quietly and privately, as in, when speaking to the PA, “Atta boy, you go get those Jews,” and to Israel, “Do what we say, or we will give Iran our own nukes.”

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      This comment is insane.

  • Neil Horlock

    Has anyone ever checked weather patterns during George HW Bush administrations demand that Israel give up land landed the “perfect storm” which damaged Kennebunkport, Maine. Then the George W. Bush administration got hit with Hurricane Katrina which destroyed New Orleans all around the time that those treaties to give up Israel’s lands were signed. Coincidence?

    • yussi

      Yes,coincidence BUT GREAT!!!

    • I don’t believe that those weather conditions are a coincidence. I believe it was God coming against this country for trying to get Israel to give up the land that HE gave them. He set the borders and we have no right to try and change them.

      Did you read McTernan’s book As America Has Done to Israel?

  • Steve Klein

    “I’m not saying we don’t register complaints… I’m just saying we don’t always do it publicly,” she said in response to a reporter’s question.

    Reminds me of Pope Pius XII, the WWII pope. He would not condemn Nazi atrocities and mass-genocide publicly, arguing if he condemned Nazi atrocities he would have to condemn Allied atrocities. Everything was done privately, diplomatically, behind closed doors.

    • yussi

      Why wont they do it publicly?/dont want to hurt the “poor palis” feelings? Don t worry,they have no feelings,only hatred.


    Secretary of State Kerry, for some unstated reason,is violating a long standing maxim which is, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.” Perhaps he can not determine which is which.

  • `Bob J

    By keeping criticism of anti-Semitic defamation quiet, State is actually encouraging it.
    The message is that the Palestinian Arabs can get away with almost everything, but that Israel is held to a completely different standard, which is one definition of anti-Semitism. This of course, is completely unacceptable and State needs to be contacted. What Netanyahu has revealed is a blockbuster and needs to be publicized.

    • Babs

      It’s also racist. They treat the Palestinians like infants – so they behave like infants.

      • yussi

        who does?? their own leadership,thats who!! stop placating those sub humans and tell them tuchus ofen tish..or go humm yourselves.

    • Sonia Willats

      And then again, the US is not G-d though she is playing G-d. John Kerry should GO HOME AND STAY HOME and sort out his own back yard.

  • HaroldT

    So, has the state department “complained” privately ?
    They have no hesitation on condemning Israel publicly.

    • yussi

      double standard? ya think?? Umm YES!!! but what else is new..thank goodness for Bibi…

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    State department has always fought against Jewish interests overseas and in the US.