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State Department: US does not object to Israel rededicating Hurva Synagogue
IMRA/State Department ^ | 3-15-10

Posted on 03/15/2010 6:15:16 PM PDT by SJackson

State Department: US does not object to Israel rededicating Hurva Synagogue

U.S. Department of State
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
March 15, 2010

1:09 p.m. EST
MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Several
announcements before taking your questions:
On March 18th and 19th, Secretary Clinton will participate in a meeting of
the Quartet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov, European High Representative Catherine Ashton, as well as
Quartet Representative Tony Blair to discuss efforts to promote Middle East


QUESTION: So when the Secretary spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu, did she
make any specific requests of his government and what sort of actions they'd
like to see taken?

MR. CROWLEY: She did outline for Prime Minister Netanyahu some specific
things that we wanted to see from the Israeli Government. I'm not going to
go into specific detail. I think that they involve not only specifics about
the project in question that was announced last week, but really more so
about the willingness of the parties to engage seriously in this process and
jointly create conditions for its success and be willing to address the core
issues at the heart of the peace process.

I would say that we also have some concerns today about the tensions
regarding the rededication of a synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old
City. And we are urging all parties to act responsibly and do whatever is
necessary to remain calm. We're deeply disturbed by statements made by
several Palestinian officials mischaracterizing the event in question, which
can only serve to heighten the tensions that we see. And we call upon
Palestinian officials to put an end to such incitement.

So this is something that we are and will continue to talk with both parties
about, which is - as we see, proximity talks started. Both sides have
responsibilities to make sure that there's an appropriate environment that
allows progress to be made.

QUESTION: Did she specifically ask, though, to put an end to the 1600
apartments, the project that was announced --

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I'm not going to go into particulars, but her discussion
on Friday did focus not only on this particular housing initiative, but also
about the process more broadly.

QUESTION: Let me follow up, though. There's word today that the project
that - Netanyahu, who announced that the project's going to go forward. Any
reaction to that?

MR. CROWLEY: We - she - when she outlined for the prime minister our
specific concerns, she asked for a formal response by the Israeli Government
that has - and we await that response.

QUESTION: So - but tell us again, does it - you have no reaction to him
saying that this project's going to go forward? I mean, how about - can you
say publicly --

MR. CROWLEY: As I just said, when she outlined what she thought appropriate
actions would be to the prime minister, she asked for a response by the
Israeli Government. We wait for that response.

QUESTION: So you're discounting whatever he said today? It does - means
nothing to you?

MR. CROWLEY: I'm saying that we asked for a formal response from the Israeli
Government and when we get that response, we'll react to it.



QUESTION: P.J., there are Israeli media reports or there were Israeli media
reports over the weekend that said that she had indeed asked for cessation
of this
project. You can't address that at all?

MR. CROWLEY: I just said - Arshad, as to particulars of what she asked, I'm
not - just not going to get into the particulars.

QUESTION: Is Senator Mitchell still planning to go to the Middle East? And
are the talks going to start or they've reached a dead end?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as we have announced, George Mitchell intends to be in
the region this week. However, his schedule is not yet set.

QUESTION: It's not yet set?

QUESTION: So he's not leaving tonight?

QUESTION: I understand there are meetings in Israel tomorrow - or tomorrow
and Wednesday.

MR. CROWLEY: This is a fluid situation. As of this moment, he's still in the
United States.

QUESTION: Thanks. You mentioned the rededication of a synagogue in the Old

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: That you were disappointed in that. Are you disappointed in the
rededication or in the reaction?

MR. CROWLEY: No, the reaction. I mean, there have been some
mischaracterizations of this particular event, and we have concerns that
this could lead to further tensions. And we just call on everyone not to -
to be careful about public statements that can incite further violence.

QUESTION: So you're not objecting to the rededication?

MR. CROWLEY: Not at all, not at all, not at all.

QUESTION: And have there been any --

MR. CROWLEY: This is about statements made about this event, not about the
event itself.

QUESTION: By the Palestinians?

QUESTION: Have there been any direct --

QUESTION: By Palestinian officials.

QUESTION: Have there been any direct communications with the Palestinian
officials on that issue?


QUESTION: And are you requesting specific things of them?

MR. CROWLEY: We have made our concerns known about these public statements
regarding this event. I mean, we remain in - over the weekend, we were in
contact with officials from - both Palestinians and Israelis as we continue
to look for the right conditions to move these talks forward.

QUESTION: A quick follow-up on the talks. Other than the Secretary's call,
the Vice President's call on Friday, and the ambassador being called in to
talk to the Deputy Secretary on Friday, have there been any meetings or
calls between senior U.S. and Israeli officials since then? Anything today?

MR. CROWLEY: Calls, yes, across a range of officials from the U.S.
Government, Israeli Government. I'm not aware of any further meetings at
this point.

QUESTION: Can you be any specific - give us any specifics about those calls,
meaning who and when and what?

MR. CROWLEY: Many. I mean, there's a lot of --

QUESTION: From the Secretary? I mean, anything of any significant level?

MR. CROWLEY: No, I'm not aware that the Secretary has any further calls.



QUESTION: One quick one on the concerns that you expressed about the
Palestinian statements about the rededication of the synagogue. Who made
those concerns known to Palestinian officials? Was that Assistant Secretary
Feltman? Was it done through the consul general in Jerusalem? Who actually
made that --

MR. CROWLEY: I'm sure it's more than one. I just don't have a rundown,

QUESTION: But it wasn't the Secretary?


QUESTION: Well, are your concerns --

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I will take this question. I'm not aware that the
Secretary talked to President Abbas over the weekend. If she did, we'll let
you know.

QUESTION: But your concerns about the comments on the mosque, do they rise
to the same level as your concern on the unhappiness about the statements -
the announcement of the (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: I'm not going to draw any comparability here. We - as we've
said many times --

QUESTION: Well, you're trying to even it out here.

MR. CROWLEY: No. I am not --

QUESTION: You've gotten savaged - you're getting savaged on the Hill --


QUESTION: -- and by some very powerful interest groups in this city. And you
come out - without anyone asking about concerns on the Palestinian side, you've
offered this up. And so it looks like you're attempting to balance your
criticisms of --

MR. CROWLEY: I understand your question, Matt. I wouldn't describe it in
that way. As we've said, both sides have responsibilities, and where we have
concerns about either side and jeopardizing the conditions that we think are
necessary to move this process forward - as we said when we announced the
proximity talks would start, we will not be - we will not hesitate to say
so. We have very specific concerns about public statements made surrounding
this particular synagogue rededication, and we are not hesitating to talk
about those concerns.

We have very particular concerns about a housing project announced while the
Vice President of the United States is standing in Israel. And we have
condemned that announcement.

QUESTION: Can you --

MR. CROWLEY: But I'm - we're not trying to achieve any kind of comparability
here. Anytime we have concerns about actions being taken on either side, we
will not hesitate to say so.

QUESTION: Okay. Can you say which comments by Palestinian officials concern
you? What --

MR. CROWLEY: I haven't got that kind of detail. Go ahead.

QUESTION: P.J., can you comment in general about the status of U.S.-Israeli
relations? The Israeli envoy to Washington said Israel's relations with the
U.S. is facing the most severe crisis since 1975. Do you agree with that

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we - Israel is a strategic ally of the United States and
will continue to be so. The Vice President, during his trip to Israel last
week, restated that commitment. We have very specific concerns about not
only the substance of an announcement, the timing of an announcement, but
its broader implication in terms of jeopardizing further progress on the
peace process.

We have made some specific requests of the Israeli Government in that
regard, and we're looking forward to their response. But - this is a
specific area of concern. But it should not be taken as an indication that
the - our commitment to Israel's security, as the Vice President said last
week, remains unshakable.

QUESTION: But last week, you said it was actually jeopardizing the
relationship, and I wonder if you're backing off from that now.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, no. We - well, we will evaluate the implications of this
once we hear back from the Israelis and see how they respond to our

QUESTION: You said that Ambassador Mitchell's trip was still a fairly fluid
situation. Can you tell us what specifically you need to get nailed down
before you can say when he's going? And is there any possibility he might
not go if those things aren't determined?

MR. CROWLEY: I would expect George Mitchell to be back in the region, but as
to the particular timing, I think that's still the question. He will be with
the Secretary at the end of the week in Moscow for the Quartet meeting. But
as to his particular departure plans, we'll let you know when he leaves.

QUESTION: But you expect him in the region before the Quartet meeting?

MR. CROWLEY: I expect him in the region soon.

QUESTION: Do you want an answer on the 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem
before making a decision on whether he's going?

MR. CROWLEY: I wouldn't condition one on the other. We want to see this
process move forward. The proximity talks are a means to accomplish that.
But we want to make sure that in scheduling the next round of talks, that we
have an environment that allows us to move the process forward.


MR. CROWLEY: So I don't think - it's not a question of if George will go to
the region. It's a question of when George will go to the region. But we
want to make sure that we have the commitment from both sides that when he
travels, we can make progress.

QUESTION: And is it still your position - last week, when asked if you
were - on the day that you issued the Media Note with his statement that
both sides had accepted proximity talks or indirect talks, you were asked if
you were certain that the talks had indeed begun. And you said, "I am
certain." Is it still your position --


QUESTION: -- that the indirect talks began last week?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes. They have begun. But as to when the next round will occur,
we want to make sure - I'm confident that there will be another round of
proximity talks. We want to make sure that when they happen, we - let me
finish - we - that the conditions are right so that we can make the kind of
progress we want to make.

QUESTION: I don't understand the difference, then, between - proximity
talks - if you have Mitchell going from Ramallah to Jerusalem and back and
forth, which he's been doing for nine months now, why aren't you saying that
proximity talks began last year?

QUESTION: Last week.

MR. CROWLEY: Last week.

QUESTION: No. Yeah, why aren't you saying they began last year?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, the difference is --

QUESTION: He's been shuttling between the two sides --

MR. CROWLEY: No, we --

QUESTION: You have now the Palestinians saying they're not interested in
these talks unless this project is canceled, so I'm not sure - how can you
say that --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, what we've had for the past year are talks about talks.
What we want to get to is talks about substance.

QUESTION: But it sounds like you're still talks about talks.



MR. CROWLEY: We are prepared to have talks and address the substance, the
core issues at stake in the peace process.

QUESTION: Different topic?

MR. CROWLEY: Not yet.

QUESTION: Just one real quick. Have there been any discussions about actions
that the U.S. could take if Israel ignores these specific requests that you
won't detail?

MR. CROWLEY: We'll get to that point if we need to, based on the response by
the Israeli Government, which we haven't received yet.


TOPICS: Israel; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: israel; plugsbiden; ramatshlomo; waronterror

1 posted on 03/15/2010 6:15:16 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson

Well...that’s mighty white of us...

2 posted on 03/15/2010 6:17:45 PM PDT by Crim
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

And apologies for the many pings, but it's better than the days when they were about terror attacks.


I would say that we also have some concerns today about the tensions regarding the rededication of a synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. And we are urging all parties to act responsibly and do whatever is necessary to remain calm.

All parties? Concerned about the tensions? When does it go beyond tension, when the Synagogue is desecrated, like the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Until the administration can tell the difference between Jews praying and Muslims rioting, your efforts will amount to zero, Zero.

Nice the administration doesn't object to the praying Jews, though.

3 posted on 03/15/2010 6:18:12 PM PDT by SJackson (In wine there is wisdom, In beer there is freedom, In water there is bacteria.)
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To: Crim

Awfully white.

4 posted on 03/15/2010 6:20:52 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: SJackson
And just who ? gave the US State Department the right, and authority to dictate what Israel can, and can not do on their own land that the GOD of Israel gave them ?
Only the GOD of Israel is the one who can dictate what Israel can and can not do on their own land.....
5 posted on 03/15/2010 6:22:52 PM PDT by American Constitutionalist (There is no civility in the way the Communist/Marxist want to destroy the USA)
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To: SJackson

Here’s a report about Hurva Synagogue.

6 posted on 03/15/2010 6:23:21 PM PDT by GulfWar1Vet
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To: SJackson

What business is it of ours?

I’d be mighty offended if Israel “didn’t object” to consecrating a new Catholic church or something.....

7 posted on 03/15/2010 6:24:00 PM PDT by GatorGirl (Eschew Socialism!)
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To: GatorGirl
What business is it of ours?

That question could be asked of so many of this administrations actions.

8 posted on 03/15/2010 6:33:36 PM PDT by SJackson (In wine there is wisdom, In beer there is freedom, In water there is bacteria.)
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To: Crim

I don’t give a damn what Thunder Thighs or the State Department objects to or what they do not object to. They can hide in their Tel Aviv Fog and drink martinis and lattes until the sun comes back in the morning. What an arrogant lot...

9 posted on 03/15/2010 6:52:32 PM PDT by richardtavor
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To: SJackson

WHo the heck are they to say they “approve” or disapprove. Bebe do whatever you think is best for Israel, pay no attention to these fools behind the curtain.

10 posted on 03/15/2010 8:28:59 PM PDT by gidget7 ("Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." Thomas Jefferson)
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