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February 4, 2016 3:42 pm

State Dept Spokesman Lectures ‘Al Quds’ Journalist Challenging US Condemnation of Jerusalem Terror Attack

avatar by Ruthie Blum

US State Department Spokesman John Kirby. Photo: C-Span/Screenshot.

US State Department Spokesman John Kirby. Photo: C-Span/Screenshot.

During his daily press briefing on Wednesday, US State Department Spokesman John Kirby lectured a journalist for the Palestinian Al Quds network who was challenging Kirby about the terrorist attack in Jerusalem that left one Israeli Border Policewoman dead and another seriously wounded.

Following a series of questions and answers pertaining to the main topic of the briefing — Russia’s engagement in Syria – and after AP reporter Matt Lee asked Kirby about the attack in Israel (specifically raising the issue of the security cameras that were supposed to have been placed in the Old City as a security measure) — Kirby condemned the bloodshed.

“As we’ve said before, there’s no justification for these terrorist attacks,” he said. “These tragic incidents only underscore again the importance of affirmative steps to restore calm, reduce tensions, and bring an immediate end to the violence.”

At this point, Said Arikat, Washington Bureau Chief for the Jerusalem-based Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, interjected.

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“But you’re not – let me just follow up on this in general. These border police units, they are part of an occupying force. Correct? You agree with that?” asked Arikat, adding, “I mean, I understand you want to condemn this and that’s your prerogative, but, I mean, the flipside of that – I mean, I don’t want to – I followed the discussion yesterday on the issue of the right to self-defense and so on. But how should the Palestinians respond to an overwhelming military presence that basically suffocates their lives? How – what they should do, in your opinion?”

Kirby replied, “Let me tell you what is not the way to do it, okay? The way to not do it is through attacks like today. The way to not do it is to incite those attacks with rhetoric that inflames these tensions. The way to do it – the way to move forward here – is through peaceful dialogue and conversation, and to take affirmative steps in both word and in action to walk people away from this kind of violence. That’s the way to do this.”

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