White House Punts Palestinian Statehood Questions Before Obama Exits Stage Left White House Punts Palestinian Statehood Questions Before Obama Exits Stage Left
By Martin Hill
Dec. 11, 2016



White House Press reporter Fred Lucas asked twice yesterday about this issue of Palestine Statehood and whether or not the Obama Administration will take any executive action to help further this cause before leaving office. (Oh, I guess executive orders are only to pardon dope-dealers!)

White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz evaded the question, remarking about former president Jimmy Carter, whom the questioner referenced. The White House spokesman noted that Carter "clearly is someone who has strong views about that region" but added "And so I don't think those views are new today, so I don't have any new positions or views from us on that."

The reporter then pressed for a clarification on the issue, asking "You're not ruling out anything on Palestinian statehood?" to which Schultz awkwardly replied, "I'm saying that I don't have anything new to offer on that first issue that's a departure from our positions."

Surprisingly, Lucas has right-wing leanings evidenced by his authorship in publications such as 'The Weekly Standard' and 'The American Spectator.' Here is his linked-in profile .

Eric Schultz Twitter feed is here .

Last year, speaking in front of a Jewish congregation at an event honoring "Jewish American heritage month," President Obama called for a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians. Those remarks are following the video, below.

Here is the full transcript and video of the recent press conference:

Q On some other question -- I have asked before about possible executive actions. So just maybe get an update on this -- any (inaudible) or movement. A couple things that have been out there -- former President Carter has said that the President should take some type of executive action on possibly a Palestinian state, either through U.S. recognition or just not vetoing a U.N. resolution. Another issue that's been out there -- some House Democrats have -- they sent a letter, they've advocated using the pardon power for DREAMers. Has the President ruled either of those out?

MR. SCHULTZ: Fred, on the former, I know that the former President Carter had an op-ed piece out today. I haven't had a chance to take a close look at it, but clearly he is someone who has strong views about that region. And so I don't think those views are new today, so I don't have any new positions or views from us on that.

On the ask from House Democrats, there is a process at the Department of Justice to review pardon applications. The President has said he is not going to do anything to circumvent that process. What he has done in recent years is bolster resources at the Department of Justice to make sure they are at maximum capacity to have all the bandwidth they need to review applications. So that process continues in earnest.

I expect that process to continue for the rest of the time the President is office. But we're going to also respect that process at the Department of Justice.

Q You're not ruling out anything on Palestinian statehood, but you're saying no -- to the second question?

MR. SCHULTZ: I'm saying that I don't have anything new to offer on that first issue that's a departure from our positions.

Go to 38:50 in the video to see reporter Fred ask the first question about Palestine.

Here is Obama talking to the Jewish congregation:

"And it is precisely because I care so deeply about the state of Israel -- it's precisely because, yes, I have high expectations for Israel the same way I have high expectations for the United States of America -- that I feel a responsibility to speak out honestly about what I think will lead to long-term security and to the preservation of a true democracy in the Jewish homeland. (Applause.) And I believe that's two states for two peoples, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. (Applause.) Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people on their land, as well. (Applause.)

Now, I want to emphasize -- that's not easy. The Palestinians are not the easiest of partners. (Laughter.) The neighborhood is dangerous. And we cannot expect Israel to take existential risks with their security so that any deal that takes place has to take into account the genuine dangers of terrorism and hostility.

But it is worthwhile for us to keep up the prospect, the possibility of bridging divides and being just, and looking squarely at what's possible but also necessary in order for Israel to be the type of nation that it was intended to be in its earliest founding. (Applause.)

And that same sense of shared values also compel me to speak out -- compel all of us to speak out -- against the scourge of anti-Semitism wherever it exists. (Applause.) I want to be clear that, to me, all these things are connected. The rights I insist upon and now fight for, for all people here in the United States compels me then to stand up for Israel and look out for the rights of the Jewish people. And the rights of the Jewish people then compel me to think about a Palestinian child in Ramallah that feels trapped without opportunity. That's what Jewish values teach me. That's what the Judeo-Christian tradition teaches me. These things are connected. (Applause.)

And in recent years, we've seen a deeply disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in parts of the world where it would have seemed unthinkable just a few years or decades ago. This is not some passing fad; these aren’t just isolated phenomenon. And we know from our history they cannot be ignored. Anti-Semitism is, and always will be, a threat to broader human values to which we all must aspire. And when we allow anti-Semitism to take root, then our souls are destroyed, and it will spread."

Link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/05/22/remarks-president-jewish-american-heritage-month


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