State Dept. Spokesman Stonewalls on Settlement Stance

The American pro-Zionist lobbying group J Street has also given tacit, albeit begrudging, support of the resolution by stating, “we cannot support a U.S. veto of a Resolution that closely tracks long-standing American policy and that appropriately condemns Israeli settlement policy.”

An article in the International Herald Tribune, written by former Palestinian legislator and peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi, explained that, not only is it “universally recognized that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law,” but they are also “a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention” and “under the Rome Statute, they are considered a war crime.” Nevertheless, Ashrawi continues,

With America unwilling to hold Israel accountable to international law and existing agreements, Israel has remained intransigent in the face of international efforts to revive genuine negotiations. A Security Council resolution would reaffirm today’s international consensus in support of the two-state solution by recognizing the threat posed by illegal settlements.

The draft resolution also ignited a frantic move on the part of Israel and its American apologists to render the settlement issue moot by presenting maps of a potential Palestinian state with provisional borders. These maps, drafted by Israel’s fascist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and presented by a Zionist think tank in Washington D.C., are intended to “freeze the existing situation in the territories, with minor changes,” thereby legitimizing and entrenching decades of ethnic cleansing, occupation, illegal settlement and land theft. Needless to say, the proposals, which would force Palestinians to create a demilitarized prison state on a mere 13% of their homeland, have even been dismissed by the collaborationist Palestinian Authority as an “invention and a joke.”

Clearly terrified of supporting any resolution that reflects negatively on Israel, however truthful or obvious it may be, the U.S. government’s reaction to the proposal has been nothing short of embarrassing.

A letter, delivered to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from seventeen U.S. Senators and initiated by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), claims the resolution “hurts the prospects for a peace agreement and is not in the interest of the United States” and “strongly” urges Clinton “to make clear that the United States will veto such a resolution if it is raised at the Council, and to clearly communicate the United States’ intent to do so to other Security Council members.” Undoubtedly drafted by AIPAC and passed along to the most die-hard Zionist apologists in Congress, the letter is so fraught with inaccuracies and misstatements that even JTA‘s Ron Kampeas was forced to admit that it makes no sense. The UNSC resolution, he explains, “doesn’t resemble anything Gillibrand is writing about” and, “weirdest of all,” the letter actually “calls for exactly what the resolution calls for.”

Still, the U.S. State Department’s desperate attempts to avoid the issue of Israeli aggression, continued colonization, and its consistent criminal violation of international law with impunity and American protection, were never more blatant than in recent statements by both Secretary Clinton and her State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Clinton, in response to the draft, said that the United States does not “see action in the United Nations or any other forum as being helpful in bringing about that desired outcome,” and stated that “we continue to believe strongly that New York is not the place to resolve the long-standing conflict and outstanding issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We do not think that that is a productive path for the Palestinians or anyone to pursue.”

However, the tour-de-force of doublespeak and duplicity was delivered by Clinton’s spokesman P.J. Crowley at Wednesday’s press briefing. The conversation, led by Associated Press reporter (and perennial thorn in Crowley’s side) Matthew Lee along with others, is remarkable for its clear exposition of both government obstructionism and public stonewalling.

The briefing came one hundred and fifty-four years and four months after the publication of the tenth chapter of Charles Dickens’ satirical serial novel Little Dorrit. The chapter, entitled “Containing The Whole Science Of Government,” contains the following passages:

The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office…

…It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving – HOW NOT TO DO IT.

Crowley’s carefully crafted answers and persistent repetition of the same phrases (notably, “I’m not going to speculate on what happens in the coming days.”) also recall the words of 17th Century English bishop George Morley: “A sudden lie may sometimes be only manslaughter upon truth; but by a carefully constructed equivocation truth is always, with malice aforethought, deliberately murdered.”

Below is the relevant part of the January 18 press briefing.

Fair warning: Reading the following exchange may result in the same severe headache and delirium one would expect from ten thousand hard headbutts to an Apartheid wall.

Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
January 18, 2011

QUESTION: Let’s see, where to begin? There are so many places. I’ll – can I start with the Middle East and the Palestinians talking about this resolution that they want to put into the Security Council this week which would condemn Israeli settlement activity. At the same time, they’re continuing their push to get countries to recognize their independence, even without a negotiated settlement. They raised the flag at their mission downtown here today, this morning.

MR. CROWLEY: Which, on that particular point, we had agreed months ago, but it doesn’t change their status in any way.

QUESTION: Well, no, but their status changed in August.

MR. CROWLEY: No, but the granting permission to raise the flag –

QUESTION: Well, that’s actually part of my question.

MR. CROWLEY: — (inaudible) does not change their fundamental status of their diplomatic mission here in the United States.