From The Jewish Press:
Finally, after months of calmly responding to the incessant badgering by Palestinian Arab journalist Said Arikat to manipulate the State Dept. spokespeople into making statements that were then promoted as positions attacking Israel, State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby had enough.The sad thing is that most of the world seems to believe what Arikat said, that all terrorism against Israelis are justified because their lives - which are better by nearly every objective measure than that of citizens of most Arab countries - are supposedly being "suffocated."
Kirby, a pleasant looking former Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, is generally unflappable, with a calm demeanor and a quick smile lost his cool – as much as he was capable – at the Wednesday, Feb. 3 daily press briefing.
Kirby had just responded to Matt Lee, the Associated Press reporter, who asked whether the State Dept. was going to condemn the terrorist attack by Palestinian Arab terrorists on two border patrol policewomen at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, which took place earlier in the day.
Kirby said on behalf of the State Dept. “we do strongly condemn the attack in Jerusalem today in which two border police officers were attacked with automatic weapons.
“As before, sadly, once again, we have to extend our deepest condolences to a mourning family and to friends and the community of the victim, and we wish the injured officer a full and complete recovery. As we’ve said before, there’s no justification for these attacks,” the spokesperson said.
What Kirby didn’t mention, but surely knew, was that the police officer who was murdered, Hadar Cohen, was a 19-year-old girl, and her fellow officer who was severely wounded was only 20 years old.
But Arikat could not allow to pass a single statement of compassion made by the U.S. towards Israel. Instead of simply moving on to another topic, Arikat, so conditioned to getting in the last word and twisting any comments into ones that can be construed as
anti-Israel, had to take a stab.
ARIKAT:” But you’re not,” he started, “These border police units, they are part of an occupying force. Correct? You agree with that?And this is when Kirby, finally, lit into Arikat. He didn’t raise his voice and he didn’t use vulgar terms. But finally, after so many months, Kirby gave back to Arikat what Arikat should have been getting all along. Instead of allowing a reporter in the room to use the daily press briefing as an opportunity to aggressively lobby for his people’s political positions, Kirby shut down Arikat with a hard dose of truth.
KIRBY: “the-they-this was border police officers that were on duty doing their job.”
ARIKAT: “No, I mean, I understand you want to condemn this and that’s your prerogative, but, I mean, the flip side of that – I mean,” Arikat stumbled about a bit, and then got to his point:”But how should the Palestinians respond to an overwhelming military presence that basically suffocates their lives? How – what they should do, in your opinion?“
Kirby responded to Arikat’s effort to turn a brutal terrorist murder of a 19-year-old Israeli girl doing her job – to protect Israeli citizens – into a justified response to the “Occupation.” Kirby said, through ever-so-slightly tightened lips:
Let me tell you what is not the way to do it, okay? The way to not do it is through attacks like today. The way to not do it is to incite those attacks with rhetoric that inflames these tensions. The way to do it – the way to move forward here – is through peaceful dialogue and conversation, and to take affirmative steps in both word and in action to walk people away from this kind of violence. That’s the way to do this.
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