And Obama has been backpedaling ever since.
Now, Rick Richman makes a great point that on Hillary Clinton's announced trip to Israel this month, they cannot say where Clinton is going.
The problem that Clinton will have in talking about her trip to Israel was illustrated yesterday during the State Department press conference, when a reporter asked Director Patrick Ventrell what should have been a simple straightforward question:
QUESTION: For every single country she’s going to, it lists the cities that she’s visiting, except for Israel. So this is a semi-trick question: Is she going to be visiting the capital of Israel?
MR. VENTRELL: The Secretary will be in Israel and she will meet with Israeli officials.
MR. VENTRELL: At this point, I don’t know where those meetings are going to be, but obviously as we get closer, the team will have more information.
QUESTION: You don’t know if they’ll be in Jerusalem or if they will be in Tel Aviv?
MR. VENTRELL: We can presume that she will visit multiple sites in Israel on this trip.
Richman hones in on the self-imposed quandary the State Department has set up for itself:
They just can’t bring themselves to say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, can they?Back in March, the Obama administrations refusal to recognize any connection between Jerusalem and Israel led to new levels of absurdity, as reported by Adam Kredo:
They can’t answer the question of where the capital is, or where Clinton will visit (although the answer to both questions is obvious), lest someone press them on whether Jerusalem is in Israel. Perhaps while she is there on July 16 or 17, Secretary Clinton will be asked if she still takes the position that even symbolically treating Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would jeopardize the non-existent peace process.
State Department Won’t Say Jerusalem Is in IsraelAnd let's not forget the pretzel-bending that State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland went through in trying to explain what happened. Nuland single-handedly illustrated how incapable the Obama administration is to deal with with issue of Jerusalem and Israel:
UPDATE: The State Department has altered an official communication to erase the fact that it had referred to Israel and Jerusalem as separate entities.
The release now states: “Acting Under Secretary Kathleen Stephens Travels to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv.” In a previous iteration of the release, the State Department separated Jerusalem from Israel.
QUESTION: Yesterday there was a bit of a kerfuffle over an announcement that was made by the Department about the travel of your boss.Once upon a time, Obama told us that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel.
MS. NULAND: Yes.
QUESTION: 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 Under Secretary – Acting Under Secretary for R, Kathy Stephens, will be traveling 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 negotiations between the parties.
QUESTION: Is it the view 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.
QUESTION: 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.
QUESTION: 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 --
QUESTION: No, no. But --
MS. NULAND: -- and I have nothing further to say on it.
QUESTION: You’ve spoken to the issue but didn’t answer 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 --
QUESTION: What is the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is it has to be solved through negotiations. That’s all I have to say on this issue.
QUESTION: What is the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Our Embassy, as you know, is located in Tel Aviv.
QUESTION: So does that mean that you regard Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: The issue on Jerusalem has to be settled through negotiations.
Today, Obama tells Israel that they must negotiate with the Arabs as to what their capital should be.
Technorati Tag: Israel and Jerusalem and Obama and Hillary Clinton.