Monday, December 11, 2017

Arikat of the Press Room

There is, in the State Department press room, a representative of the Palestinian media.

Said Arikat.

The Washington Bureau Chief for the Jerusalem-based Palestinian newspaper al-Quds.  And he lectures at an university.  And he was Former UN Spokesman, Iraq.

His job seems mainly to be pushing an agenda.

Last Thursday, he was at it again at the briefing by Under-Secretary of State David Sauterfield, but his first attempt to grab the narrative went awry:

QUESTION: So on --
MS NAUERT: Hold on, hold on.
QUESTION: On the issue of East Jerusalem --
MS NAUERT: Excuse me, Said.
QUESTION: On being from East Jerusalem --
MS NAUERT: Excuse me, Said. I’ll just call on the questions, okay, since he doesn’t know anybody. Elise, go right ahead.
Eventually, he got his chance:

QUESTION: My name is Said Arikat. I just want to follow up on East Jerusalem because it is really – it’s not clear at all. Not in my mind. So what happens to the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem? Do they now become automatically Israeli citizens, would have full rights, and so on? What happens to 300,000 Palestinians?

AMBASSADOR SATTERFIELD: Said, the President’s proclamation yesterday, his decision, have no impact on those issues. He is recognizing a practical reality. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. And all of the other aspects – boundaries of sovereignty – we’re not taking a position. It’s for the sides to resolve.

QUESTION: So if you’ll just bear with me for a second. So why not say West Jerusalem? I mean, the Russians have done that. It did not cause any problem and so on. Or why don’t you say that this part, East Jerusalem, as been negotiated as you yourself have been involved for so many years, this portion is designated to become the capital of the Palestinian state?

AMBASSADOR SATTERFIELD: Said, the President’s decision speaks for itself. There are many words that are in his statement, in his remarks; there are words that aren’t. We recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel. He didn’t go beyond that, and I’m not going to go beyond that.

And then was shut down:
QUESTION: Can you – can you share with us --

MS NAUERT: We need to move on (inaudible).

QUESTION: -- just one last thing?

MS NAUERT: Said, (inaudible).

QUESTION: Could you share with us, sir --

MS NAUERT: Said, (inaudible).

QUESTION: -- one national security interest of the United States that this recognition has served? Can you identify one national security interest of the United States that this recognition has identified?

AMBASSADOR SATTERFIELD: The President is committed to advancing a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. In his view upon reflection, this step, he believes, assists in that process. Full stop.


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