From yesterday's Daily Press Briefing by John Kirby, Spokesperson, Washington, DC on October 14, 2015 [and now the video] :
QUESTION: All right. And then the visit to Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif by Israelis, is that – does the Administration consider that to be visits to there – does the Administration consider that to be incitement?
MR KIRBY: I’m not going to be able to characterize every single act with terminology. What the Secretary has said and stands by is that we want to see the status quo restored, the status quo arrangement there on Haram al-Sharif and the Temple Mount, and for both sides to take actions to de-escalate the tensions. So incitement can take many forms. Again, I’m not going to – I’m not going to go through a laundry list of what is or what isn’t. I mean, the Secretary spoke specifically about incitement yesterday, and we recognize that incitement can go both ways here. But it’s the – whether it’s action or rhetoric, it’s things that encourage others to continue this cycle of violence, it’s just not helpful and not going to get us to what we really want to see there.
QUESTION: Is it the Administration’s position that the status quo at the Temple Mount has been broken?
MR KIRBY: Well, certainly, the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of the violence.
That is wrong.
Well, if he was referring to the Jews it is.
If he was referring to the Muslims, then he is correct.
They have built at least three new mosques within the compound since 1967.
They have instituted many new administrative procedures.
They have dumped hundreds of tons of dirt outside the site containing arachaeological artifacts.
They have defaced, destroyed or covered up Jewish historical remains.
They have instituted the introduction of gangs of ruffians to harrass and attack Jewish visitors.
"Restored"? Israel has not altered it.
Now, what exactly did Kirby mean?
And it went on:
QUESTION: I just have one really quick one. Just four days ago the prime minister’s office said that Kerry – and I’m quoting here – “clarified that the U.S. is aware of the fact that it is Israel’s policy to maintain the status quo” on the Temple Mount “and not to change it.” That’s from the Israeli side. That’s a readout from the Israeli side. I understand you’re saying that there have been breaches of that, but it is your understanding that the Israeli policy is not to change the policy or --
MR KIRBY: I’m not – it’s not my place to characterize Israeli policy. I can only tell you what our policy is and what we’d like to see....
...QUESTION: So I just have two extremely brief ones, so we can move on after that. You said in answer to my question on the status quo whether – at the Temple Mount whether it’s been broken or not, you said that it has not been observed and that is what has led to – I think. I’ll go back and look at the transcript, but I think you said it had not been – it was not – has not been observed and that is what has led to a great deal of the violence. That certainly sounds like you’re affixing some kind of blame to Israel if this is, in fact, what the Administration believes has led to the violence – the visits by – visit by Israelis to --
MR KIRBY: Well, it’s not about believing it, Matt. I mean, you just looked at what’s been happening in that – on Haram al-Sharif and the Temple Mount recently. I mean, just if we’re looking at this in acute – through an acute lens, I mean, the activity there, the status quo not being observed, has led to violence. There’s – that’s indisputable. That’s not a belief; that’s a fact.
QUESTION: Okay. But that --
MR KIRBY: Now, but it’s not about – but it’s not about affixing blame on one side or the other. There’s a status quo there. There’s a status quo --
QUESTION: It certainly sounds like it, no?
MR KIRBY: No, there’s a status quo there that we want to see restored, and the status quo has worked in the past in keeping things calm.