[Not one word about incitement underming trust.]
QUESTION: Mr. Crowley, do you notice that there is a pattern here concerning the truth, Yosef’s announcement on building the – on the new buildings and so on coincided with the Vice Presidential speech in New Orleans? It seems that every time there is visitor, a high caliber visitor, be it an American visitor to Israel or an Israeli visitor to the United States, there seems to be an announcement of building settlements.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I don’t think the Vice President’s taking this personally. Look – and obviously, this is a process. We’ve seen these kinds of announcements before. Actually, some of this might date back to last month. And it could very well be that somebody in Israel has made this known in order to embarrass the prime minister and to undermine the process. This is expressly why we have been encouraging the parties to remain in direct negotiations, to return to direct negotiations, and to work through these issues face to face. This is the only way that they’re going to be resolved, and this just demonstrates again why it is vitally important for us to find a way for the Palestinians and the Israelis to be able to resolve the core issues in a negotiation and not through this jockeying, which brings out those who may well be opposed to peace in the Middle East.
QUESTION: Okay. Is there a – just a follow-on – is there a concern that the premiership in Israel seems to be working independently of the foreign ministry, on the one hand, and the authority that issue permits to build and so on, on the other? There seems to be confusion. Is there a concern in that area?
MR. CROWLEY: Right. As I said, I expect the Secretary will talk to the prime minister about this. As you said, this is not the first time we have experienced a situation where one element of the government or a government may not know what is happening in a different bureau, a different agency, or a different level of government. But all we know is this kind of announcement is counterproductive to what we are trying to accomplish.
QUESTION: I’m sorry. Just to follow up on that, I mean, does this realization that you have now that one arm of the government may not know what the other arm is doing, does that reduce Prime Minister Netanyahu’s usefulness as an interlocutor? I mean, what’s the point of talking to him if he can’t control the people in his own government?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, he’s the prime minister. And ultimately, he is the one that has to sign on the dotted line if there is an agreement that ends the conflict. So Prime Minister Netanyahu is central to the process. In fact, on the key decisions that have to be made only an Israeli prime minister can make those decisions on behalf of the Israeli people.
QUESTION: P.J., just to follow, you’re not dismissing the notion that the prime minister may know and have the decisions made anyway, are you?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, we look forward to the discussions later this week, and I’m sure the Secretary will be clarifying exactly what happened in this case.
QUESTION: Why that meeting will be held in New York, not in Washington?
MR. CROWLEY: I think the prime minister will be in New York and the Secretary will be up there to meet him.
QUESTION: P.J., is it your feeling that Prime Minister Netanyahu, after his meeting with Secretary Hillary Clinton, could reverse this decision?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, on the one hand, there’s a process that these kinds of advance plans go through. All we’re reflecting is the fact that these kinds of announcements undermine trust. They make it more difficult for the leaders to move forward. That’s why, rather than trying to resolve these things outside of negotiation, we once again continue to encourage the parties to get back into negotiations. This is the only way that you resolve issues like borders. And if and when you’re able to resolve issues like borders, then some of these issues become academic.
QUESTION: Is the Administration ready to discuss the release of Jonathan Pollard from the American prison —
MR. CROWLEY: I’m not going to get into any particular areas of discussion.