Speaking at The White House on Wednesday, National Security Advisor John Bolton seemingly upset one reporter when he logically referred to the area Palestinian Arabs refer to as the state of Palestine as a “so-called state.” When the reporter insisted that Bolton, by using the phrase “so-called state,” was damaging the chances of President Trump trying to make peace, Bolton shut her down by reminding her that his terminology was entirely accurate. The exchange went like this:
Reporter: “You just addressed Palestine and said it is a ‘so-called state.’ Is that language productive in achieving the president’s—"
Bolton, typically succinct: “It’s accurate. It is not a state.”
Reporter: “So the president recommitted to — the President, in New York City, as you know — recommitted his goal to achieving a two-state solution.”
Bolton: “That’s right.”
Reporter, pressing: “So is using that kind of language productive in his goal?”
Bolton, slamming the door:
Yeah, sure, of course. It’s not a state now. It does not meet the customary international law-test of statehood. It doesn’t control defined boundaries; it doesn’t fulfill the normal functions of government. There are a whole host of reasons why it’s not a state.
It could become a state, as the President said, but that requires diplomatic negotiations with Israel and others. So calling it the “so-called state of Palestine” defines exactly what it has been: a position that the United States government has pursued uniformly since 1988, when the Palestinian Authority declared itself to be the state of Palestine. We don’t recognize it as the state of Palestine. We have consistently, across Democratic and Republican administrations, opposed the admission of “Palestine” to the United Nations as a state because it’s not a state.