US Ambassador Tom Nides on Thursday morning issued a warning regarding the possibility that the next government would try to annex territories in Judea and Samaria. Speaking like the representative of a true imperialist power (whatever happened to all the talk about America’s greatest ally?), Nides told Reshet Bet radio that the administration would fight any attempt to make such a move, and clarified: “The United States and most Arab countries oppose annexation.”
OK, thanks for the clarification.
As to Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar Ben Gvir and his becoming a minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s next government, Nides said that only after the government is formed would a decision be made regarding the discourse on this issue.
Generous: the White House will decide in due time whether the votes of some half a million Israelis are acceptable to them.
Perhaps the thing that spares Israel from Biden’s nasty and brutal scrutiny will be the Republican House, which promises to be pretty nasty and brutal to Biden. Karma rhymes with rich.
But the ambassador’s fighting words were not in response to Ben Gvir, but to a statement on air from MK Yariv Levin, the second-strongest member of Likud, who said: “We were a mere step away from applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and I hope that we will make fewer statements and take more actions to move there.”
Levin was referring to that single, heady day, January 28, 2020, when former President Trump appeared to have given visiting PM Netanyahu the green light to apply Israeli law on the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (Ambassador Friedman: Go Annex Those Settlements, What Are You Waiting For?). As US Ambassador David Friedman (Oh, we liked him so much better than this one) put it: “If the Israelis apply Israeli law to the settlements and to the territory that you’ll see soon enough is allocated to Israel under the plan […] then we will recognize Israeli sovereignty.”
That’s what MK Yariv, soon-to-be Minister Yariv, was referring to, and it irked Nides to no end.
Regarding whether he would talk to Ben Gvir, Ambassador Nides said he would not make “draconian statements that I will not speak with anyone, no matter if it is right or left,” and added that the administration is waiting to see “what positions they will take, I want to see what they say rhetorically and how they act.”
Actually, no, you don’t, you just gave an interview to the country’s most popular radio station, threatening Israeli elected officials even before they were sworn in. You are not a benign ally standing on the sidelines, you are a bully, Ambassador Nides, and the problem with an ambassador who is a bully is that sooner or later he becomes useless to his bosses.
Asked if Ben Gvir would be invited to the embassy’s Fourth of July BBQ, Nides was noncommittal, saying, “There’s still a lot of time, many things will happen until then.”
OK, what about the Chanukah party?