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AP’s Matt Lee Confronts US Policy: ‘You’re Staying Silent While People are Dying Left and Right’

At Monday's Daily Press Briefing, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee grilled State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland about US silence over Israel's deadly attacks on civilians in Gaza.

He chides her over the 'quiet diplomacy':

Well, you've been doing your private diplomacy for almost a week now, how's it going so far?

She dodges his bullets time and again. But he gets something out of her when he pushes her to make a statement regarding Turkey's statement that Israel was engaging in terrorism.

QUESTION: And yet you won’t stick up for your ally, Israel, when the Turks, another one of your allies, say that they’re engaged in terrorism in Gaza?

MS. NULAND: We have been extremely clear about our concern for Israel’s security, about the fact that Israel has a right to self-defense, but I am not going to go further than that today, Matt.

QUESTION: Why can’t you say that you don’t agree with the Turks?

MS. NULAND: Because I’m not going to get into a public spitting match with allies on either side. We’re just not going to do that, okay?

QUESTION: And you think that that’s worse? A public spitting match with one of your allies is worse than hundreds of people dying every day?

MS. NULAND: I don’t understand the question here. There’s not a question here. You’re just looking for a fight. Let’s go. [Motions for next question from others]

QUESTION: No, no, no. The fight is already on.

MS. NULAND: Yeah. Absolutely.

QUESTION: The fight’s going on over there.

MS. NULAND: Absolutely.

QUESTION: And you guys, by refusing to say anything about what you’re trying to do or refusing to say whether you agree or disagree with comments that are being made by your allies or others --

MS. NULAND: We --

QUESTION: -- that makes things worse, not better.

MS. NULAND: We, of course, agree that rhetorical attacks against Israel are not helpful at this moment.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: Is that what you were looking for, Matt?

QUESTION: Yes. Thank you. Yes.

MS. NULAND: Thank you.

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Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Writer at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area.

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