A Flat-Out Denial FromDana Peroxide.
Q — in Vanity Fair, in an article that claims Hamas takeover of Gaza was the result of U.S. efforts to get Fatah to defeat Hamas. Is there any truth to that? Was there U.S. aid, either in weapons or money, to Fatah?
MS. PERINO: Secretary of State’s spokesperson, Sean McCormack, was today in — traveling in the region, in Ramallah, and told reporters that there is no accuracy to that story.
MS. PERINO: No.
Q None at all?
MS. PERINO: That’s what he said.
Q Is there?
MS. PERINO: Not that I’m aware of, no. The first I heard of the story was when it showed up this morning. I don’t even know if we were contacted. Sean says that he’s checked and it is not true.
Moving Quickly = Completely Stalled
Q The President says he’s still confident that a peace agreement can be reached in the Middle East in the next 10 months. We’re at a point where you have the two sides not even talking to each other. Isn’t it at least a setback — I mean, is the administration confident that this current pause in the negotiations is going to end soon?
MS. PERINO: What the President said is that oftentimes in these negotiations you have two steps forward and one step back. I would point you to things that are moving very quickly in the region.
Q Well, how can you say that things are moving quickly? What evidence is there that they’re moving at all?
MS. PERINO: I said that things — what I meant by “moving quickly” is that there is events on the ground and people making comments yesterday regarding dialogue that are different from today’s. So that’s what I meant in terms of “quickly.”
The “Democracy Movement” – Not Applicable To Palestinians
Q You have Prime Minister — or the President say that he’s willing to resume talks, but there’s someone else in the equation who probably isn’t willing to resume talks. That would be the other representative of the Palestinians.
MS. PERINO: There is no other representative of the Palestinians. There is —
Q People who hold the other part of the territory.
MS. PERINO: Well, I’ll remind you that Hamas overthrew the legitimate government in Gaza, complete with throwing innocent Palestinians who were in the hospital from their hospital beds to their deaths from second and third story windows.
Q But I’ll remind you that the leadership in Gaza was democratically elected. But that’s beside the point. What you say about Gaza is obviously the case. But how can peace talks go forward when there is a portion of the polity that doesn’t have any interest in moving them forward?
MS. PERINO: Our point is that our negotiations are not with a terrorist organization. Israel’s negotiations and our discussions with the Palestinians are with the legitimate President of all the Palestinians, and that is President Abbas.
And Now, Your Daily Les
Q Thank you, Dana. On another question — two questions. President Klaus of the Czech Republic, and John Stossel, the co-anchor of ABC’s 20-20, are among 98 speakers at the International Conference on Climate Change, Global Warming: Truth or Swindle, which is now going on in New York City. And my question: Does the President welcome or deplore this gathering of so many scientists who have signed a petition that global warming probably is natural and not a crisis?
MS. PERINO: I don’t think the President has an opinion on the meeting. I haven’t talked to him about it. And if people want to gather and express their views, they’re obviously very welcome to do so, and New York is as good a place as any.
Q You are saying that he doesn’t disagree with these people who are questioning —
MS. PERINO: The President’s position on climate change is well-known. He’s long said that human beings are contributing in some ways to climate change. And that’s why we’re taking steps to deal with it, and in fact, tomorrow will make a — have remarks at the International Renewable Energy Conference, when he talks about that very issue.