Said Arikat, Washington bureau chief of the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, often smears Israel during his ostensible questions at U.S. State Department press briefings. Tuesday was no different.
“It is probably easier to establish a colony on Mars than—at least—than a state for the Palestinians,” Arikat told Vedant Patel, the State Department’s principal deputy spokesman.
“What practical steps has the United States taken in the past few months to reverse the settlement process, the balance that the Israeli occupation is inflicting on the Palestinians, the stealing of the land, terrorists that you call terrorists [in a reference to Jewish suspects] that are being let out the following day, and so on?” Arikat asked.
He added that there is an envoy for normalization (between Israel and Arab states) but not a peace envoy, “which the United States has had for decades, where you sort of started negotiations, brought people together, talked about this issue.”
Patel replied, “The particular designation of somebody in a specific role or a personnel decision to assign someone to a specific portfolio is not necessarily indicative of the weight that our government places on an issue,” he said.
“We have been quite clear from every corner of this administration from day one of how integral we see a negotiated two-state solution as a peaceful resolution to the current situation,” Patel added. “I will also note that part of this, Said, is not having some sort of glitzy rollout of major policy steps or steps that we’ve taken.”
“Yet not one settlement has been rolled back,” Arikat interjected, before launching into an unrelated question.