State Dept: Reports of Sanctions 'Unfounded'

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki denies Washington is considering sanctions against Israel over its construction plans.

Ben Ariel,

Jennifer Psaki
Jennifer Psaki
Reuters

The United States is not considering sanctions against Israel in response to its construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki clarified on Monday.

“I can set the record straight and be clear that reports that we might be contemplating sanctions against Israel are completely unfounded and without merit,” She told reporters, according to The Blaze.

Psaki was asked if perhaps the Obama administration had been considering sanctions against Israel and now is not, adding she thinks her statement “has been consistently true” over time.

However, she indicated that the government may in fact have been mulling sanctions against Israel at some point. For example, she was asked explicitly if sanctions were ever under consideration, and refused to say more, “I just am not going to have any more for you on it.”

Moments later, she said sanctions against Israel are nothing something that will be “moving forward,” a possible indication that the option did exist. She then quickly corrected herself to say they were never being contemplated.

“We put sanctions in place around the world for a variety of reasons,” she said. “This isn’t a situation where obviously moving forward with that, or were contemplating that, as my comments made clear.”

Haaretz reported last week that Washington is considering taking “harsher action” against Israeli construction efforts.

According to the report, the White House has been discussing taking “active measures” to discourage Israeli construction, instead of just issuing condemnations, as it has done until now.

The report said that senior American officials asked about the report “did not deny this, but refused to disclose more details.” According to the report, “a discussion on such a sensitive and politically-loaded issue in the White House is extremely irregular and shows to what extent relations between the Obama administration and Netanyahu government have deteriorated.”

Late last week, dozens of Republicans demanded that President Barack Obama answer clearly whether he is considering sanctions against Israel, a move that the GOP would have hotly opposed.

The letter, published Friday, further warned that “Israel is one of our strongest allies, and the mere notion that the Administration would unilaterally impose sanctions against Israel is not only unwise, but is extremely worrisome. Such reports send a clear message to our friends and enemies alike that such alliances with the United States government can no longer be unquestionably trusted.”




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