The US government is widely understood to have seriously twisted the arm of Israel's government in recent weeks, to the point where Israel agreed - against all good sense, reason, morality and justice - to release from its security prisons some 104 convicted terrorists in four tranches. Almost all of them had been tried and sentenced for acts of murder, and were serving lengthy terms.
A few hours ago at the US State Department, a persistent reporter tackled the State Department's deputy spokesperson Marie Harf on whether the murderers being bused tonight into the waiting arms of the two Palestinian Arab regimes are (a) freedom fighters or (b) terrorists.
A tough call, right?
A transcript of the bizarre exchange has just gone online at the Washington Free Beacon website, including the video clip below.
Persistent reporter: Do you have any thoughts or position on whether these people who are going to be released [today] are political prisoners or are they terrorists?Something seriously wrong is going on here.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf: I do not have a position on that.
Persistent reporter: Do you object to the Palestinians referring to them as political prisoners?
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf: I don’t have a position on that...
Persistent reporter: ...Most of these people have been convicted of murder, of killing people. And the Israelis are very clear on the fact that they think that these people are terrorists, even though they’re releasing them. The Palestinians say that they are political prisoners and... have instructed their ambassadors, all their representatives around the world to refer to them as freedom fighters, political prisoners. And I want to know, if you don’t have a position... if there isn’t anything that you call them, do you object to the Palestinians referring to them as freedom fighters?
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf: The answer is, I don’t know and I will endeavor to get an answer for you on that as well.
UPDATE: January 1, 2014 - still no answer from Marie Harf. But see our post "29-Dec-13: Tweeting with the State Department"
UPDATE: March 1, 2014 - still no answer from Marie Harf.
UPDATE: June 1, 2014 - still no answer from Marie Harf.
UPDATE: August 15, 2014 - still no answer from Marie Harf. (Could there be a pattern here?)