Some interesting material from today’s State Department briefing:
QUESTION: Richard, the Syrian Defense Minister is highly critical of the U.S. as well as putting pressure on the UN for — over the resolution. And also, with respect to terrorism, of course there was this Gaza raid on the training field against Hamas, and yet I don’t know whether Hezbollah and Hamas are considered terrorist groups by the U.S.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, absolutely, they are.
QUESTION: But Foreign Minister Qurei says that —
QUESTION: Prime Minister —
QUESTION: — they’re justified, meaning the Palestinian Authority, in a counterattack against Israel. How do you, then, settle the situation? Are the terrorist groups becoming the PA, or are the PA becoming the terrorist groups?
MR. BOUCHER: All right, let’s see. We took a long route to get there, but if I understand the question, it’s about remarks attributed to Prime Minister Qurei of the Palestinian Authority.
At this point, we’re still trying to chase down the remarks and see what he actually said and whether he actually said what’s been reported. Certainly, if the remarks are reported accurately, if he indeed did say this, then we would certainly find those kinds of comments unacceptable. There’s nothing that can justify the kind of terrorism, the kind of bus bombings and other things that are attributed to Hamas recently.
We’ve made very clear these groups need to be put out of business. We’ve made very clear the Palestinian leaders need to take hold of this problem, need to get the authority and take immediate and credible steps to end terror and violence. The time for explanations, excuses and discussion is long past. We think it’s time to see some action that sends a clear message that terrorists will not be tolerated.