According toGordon Johnd’Oh Israel Is Incapable Of Using Disporportionate Force
Q Does the President — in infer from your comments that the President does not feel that Israel has used disproportionate force, as the Secretary General of the U.N. has said?
MR. JOHNDROE: Look, we obviously don’t want any innocent civilians to lose their life, but I think that started with these rockets that have been fired from Gaza into Israel, recently killing and injuring Israeli citizens in some of their bigger cities. So they’ve had these — a barrage of rockets fired out of Hamas for some time now, and now Hamas escalated it, firing larger rockets longer-range and killing people. And so that’s got to stop.
Q So the answer is, no?
MR. JOHNDROE: The answer is as stated.
So Much ForChimpy’s “Legacy Year”
Q Do you guys think there’s any possible way to have a peace negotiation, a peace accord if there is a divided Palestinian group?
MR. JOHNDROE: As the President has said, it’s a two-state solution, not a three-state solution. But I think I’m going to wait for Secretary Rice to get there and have her discussions before I say anything more.
Q Is there any chance of having any kind of Middle East accord by the end of the year like he wants?
MR. JOHNDROE: We’re going to keep on — we’re going to keep after it.
Q Are you optimistic about that?
Q The President hasn’t given up on this yet?
MR. JOHNDROE: No, absolutely not. We’re going to keep on pursuing it. It is in the best interest of the Palestinian people, it’s in the best interest of the Israeli people, it’s in the best interest of the people in the region and the whole wide world, so we’ve got to keep after it.
No, Gordon, The CiviliansWe Killed
Q What about the air strike and reports that civilians were killed, in this pinpoint strike?
MR. JOHNDROE: I would say that it’s unfortunate whenever civilians lose their life. We do not want to see that, either Israeli or Palestinian —
Q — about Somalia.
MR. JOHNDROE: Somalia, okay. Somalia, look — the United States is going to go after al Qaeda and al Qaeda-affiliated operatives wherever we find them. They are plotting and planning all over the world to destabilize the world, to inflict terror, and where we find them, we are going to go after them.
Q Who was the target?
MR. JOHNDROE: I’m going to refer you to the Pentagon for any specifics, but the action was to go after al Qaeda and al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists.
Q — get anybody?
MR. JOHNDROE: I’ll refer you to the Pentagon for any additional details.
FreedomIs On The March!
Q Gordon, does the President feel that the elections yesterday in Russia were fair and free?
MR. JOHNDROE: Dimitri Medvedev is now the President-elect of Russia, will soon be the President of Russia. The President looks forward to working with him. It’s in our mutual interests that the United States and Russia continue cooperation in a number of areas, including counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, fighting transnational crime. So I expect that in the coming days the President and Mr. Medvedev will have a chance to talk.
Q Right, but the President has been very eloquent in the past about the need to hold free and fair elections all around the world. That’s not quite the question I asked. What does he think about how the elections went in Russia?
MR. JOHNDROE: I think the United States position in the lead-up to the elections was clear. But now I’ll refer you to election observers who have made some comments about the election. They’re also continuing to take a look at it. So we’ll wait to see what these observers have to say.