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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

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.”

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“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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