Helen Thomas Asks Gibbs 'Why Do We Give Commitments to Israel When it Violates International Law?'

Helen Thomas on Friday asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs why the United States keeps giving iron-clad commitments to Israel when it violates international law?

Gibbs responded during the press briefing, "Well, again, we enjoy a strong relationship with the country and the people. We are committed to their security." 

Giving what the late Tony Snow marvelously referred to as "The Hezbollah View," Thomas challenged the man at the podium, "How about the Palestinian security?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t HotAirPundit):

HELEN THOMAS, HEARST NEWS SERVICE: I'm sure the President is aware that it's against international law to annex occupied land. Why do we keep giving, as Vice President Biden did, iron-clad commitments to Israel when it violates international law? And the President says that our relationship is unshakeable. How can that be?

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, we enjoy a strong and important relationship with the country and the people of Israel. And we are --

THOMAS: Even when it violates the law? I mean, you go into this whole thing -- why should they be -- get this reprieve?

GIBBS: Well, again, we enjoy a strong relationship with the country and the people. We are committed to their security in a very important and dangerous --

THOMSAS: How about the Palestinian security?

GIBBS: Well, let me finish my answer, Helen -- in a very important region of the world. I think the Vice President, though, could not have been clearer on, as I said and as the Vice President said, on both the timing and the substance of the announcement that was made during his trip, that we have asked each side to refrain from the type of announcements that would shake the trust needed to sit down together and make some decisions on moving forward on a peace process.

So I think the Vice President was extremely clear on his trip there. I know the President looks forward to speaking with the Vice President. He's -- he'll get back very, very early tomorrow morning, and I anticipate that they'll either -- they'll likely talk either later in the weekend or first thing on Monday about what the Vice President saw, not just in Israel but in the region, as we try to move things forward.

THOMAS: We've already seen the violation on the part of one party. What is the U.S. going to do about it?

GIBBS: Well, again, I think that the Vice President was extremely strong in condemning what the Israeli government announced during his trip.

Readers should recall a somewhat similar exchange between Thomas and the late Tony Snow when he was Press Secretary in 2006:

HELEN THOMAS: The United States is not that helpless. It could have stopped the bombardment of Lebanon. We have that much control with the Israelis.

MR. SNOW: I don't think so, Helen.

HELEN THOMAS: We have gone for collective punishment against all of Lebanon and Palestine.

TONY SNOW: What's interesting, Helen --

HELEN THOMAS: And this is what's happening, and that's the perception of the United States.

TONY SNOW: Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view, but I would encourage you --

It appears with folks like Thomas, the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

Israel/Palestine Robert Gibbs
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