State Has Issues

State Dept: Jerusalem not the Capital of Israel, ‘Permanent Status Issue’

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A State Department official refused to state that Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel when pressed today by AP State Department reporter Matt Lee.

The Free Beacon was first to report yesterday that the department had quietly altered an official communication that originally referred to Israel and Jerusalem and separate entities.

When pressed by a reporter earlier today, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland carefully avoided calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel, instead deflecting the query by claiming that Jerusalem’s ultimate status will only be determined in peace negotiations by the Israelis and Palestinians.

“The first media note was issued in error, without appropriate clearances,” Nuland explained when asked about the altered press release. “We reissued the note to make clear that undersecretary, acting undersecretary for—our—Kathy Stephens will be travelling to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. With regard to our Jerusalem policy, it’s a permanent-status issue.  It’s got to be resolved through the negotiations between the parties.”

Pressed further on whether the State Department considers any part of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, Nuland bristled.

“Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is that it has to be solved through negotiations,” she said. “That’s all I have to say on this issue.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Q:  Yesterday there was a bit of a kerfuffle over an announcement that was made by the department about the travel of your boss.

Is it the State Department’s position that Jerusalem is not part of Israel?

MS. NULAND:  Well, you know that our position on Jerusalem has not changed.  The first media note was issued in error, without appropriate clearances.  We reissued the note to make clear that undersecretary, acting undersecretary for—our—Kathy Stephens will be travelling to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. With regard to our Jerusalem policy, it’s a permanent-status issue.  It’s got to be resolved through the negotiations between the parties.

Q:  Is it the view of the—of the United States that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, notwithstanding the question about the embassy—the location of the U.S. embassy?

MS. NULAND:  We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem.

Q:  Does that—does that mean that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

MS. NULAND:  Jerusalem is a permanent-status issue. It’s got to be resolved through negotiations.

Q:  That seems to suggest that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  Is that correct or not?

MS. NULAND:  I have just spoken to this issue —

Q:  (Inaudible.)

MS. NULAND:  — and I have nothing further to say on it.

Q:  You’ve spoken to the issue —

MS. NULAND:  Yeah.

Q:  — but (haven’t answered ?) the question. And I think there’s a lot of people out there who are interested in hearing a real answer and not saying—and not trying to duck and say that this has got to be resolved by negotiations between the two sides.

MS. NULAND:  That is our —

Q:  What is the capital of Israel?

MS. NULAND:  Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is that it has to be solved through negotiations.  That’s all I have to say on this issue.

Q:  What is the capital of Israel according —

MS. NULAND:  Our embassy, as you know, is located in Tel Aviv.

Q:  So does that mean you regard Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel?

MS. NULAND:  The issue on Jerusalem has to be settled through negotiations.

….

Q: I just want to go back to—I want to clarify something, perhaps give you an “out” on your Jerusalem answer. Is it your—is it your position that all of Jerusalem is a final-status issue, or do you think—or is it just East Jerusalem?

MS. NULAND:  Matt, I don’t have anything further to what I’ve said 17 times on that subject.  OK?

Q:  All right.  So hold on.  So I just want to make sure. You’re saying that all of Jerusalem, not just East Jerusalem, is a final-status issue.

MS. NULAND:  Matt, I don’t have anything further on Jerusalem to what I’ve already said.

Adam Kredo   Email Adam | Full Bio | RSS
Adam Kredo is senior writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Formerly an award-winning political reporter for the Washington Jewish Week, where he frequently broke national news, Kredo’s work has been featured in outlets such as the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and Politico, among others. He lives in Maryland with his comic books. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.

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