Acting Undersecretary of State Heather Nauert was graceful and professional in her response to the crude remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a speech earlier this month.
Abbas called a U.S. ambassador a “son of a dog” during a meeting of the Palestinian Authority and PLO leadership in Ramallah and criticized the United States’ stance on current Israeli relations.
Abbas was referring to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
ABBAS: US AMBASSADOR "A SON OF A DOG" – Newly named Acting Undersecretary of State, Heather Nauert responds to PA president Mahmoud Abbas calling US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman "a son of a dog".
Posted by American Truth Project on Thursday, March 22, 2018
During his speech, Abbas fiercely spoke out against U.S. conduct in the region.
“More than one American official has said that (Israeli settlements are legitimate), including their ambassador in Tel Aviv, David Friedman,” he proclaimed.
“He said that they (Israel) are building on their land. The son of a dog! Building on their land? He’s a settler and his family are settlers. He’s the American ambassador in Tel Aviv, what can we expect from him,” Abbas also said.
When asked her thoughts on the matter during a press briefing last week, Nauert was quick to denounce Abbas’ speech and support her colleague.
“It’s a terrible thing to say about anyone. It’s a terrible thing to say about a U.S. official,” she stated.
“This administration would like to see an Israeli and Palestinian peace process. What he said hampers the ability to have the Israeli and Palestinians sit down and have a conversation together to work out a peace process,” Nauert continued.
Nauert also made it a point to mention the current situation in Gaza, in which 2 million citizens have been given only scarce access to electricity for more than a year. The crisis is a result of the tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
“What they should focus their ire on is the horrific situation that has been unfolding for residents in Gaza, the difficulties with electricity and clean water,” she said.
While Nauert classified Abbas’ comments as “unnecessary,” she also mentioned that his speech certainly fell under the umbrella of free speech.
“I may not like, and others may not like, what Mahmoud Abbas said about our ambassador. I don’t think it’s right. I don’t like hearing that about our ambassador. But we believe also in the right to free speech, and that includes for President Abbas,” she said.
On whether or not Abbas may be punished for his comments, Nauert stated that she was not aware of any actions that would be taken against him.