Four months after his Senate confirmation as United States Ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides was hosted by Americans for Peace Now on a March 15th webinar. In conversation with APN Board member and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Ambassador Nides blurted: “We can’t do stupid things that impede us for a two-state solution. We can’t have the Israelis doing settlement growth in east Jerusalem or the West Bank. … I’m a bit of a nag on this, including the idea of settlement growth – which infuriates me, when they do things – just infuriates the situation, both in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.”
He was adamant on Israel’s plan to interrupt a contiguous future Palestinian State in E1, connecting Ma’ale Adumim with suburban eastern Jerusalem. “I went full board on E1… It is a very important area which … could cut off any possibility of a capital for the Palestinians.”
He stressed that although Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, there’s no reason other states couldn’t claim it as their capital, or, as he put it: “The final status of Jerusalem would have to be decided by the parties.”
Not really: Nides made no bones about reopening the Jerusalem Consulate General, the one “for PA Arabs,” President Donald Trump shut down in 2019. “We want to open it,” Nides promised the nice Jewish folks of APN, and ridiculed the fact that Israel has “aggressively opposed it,” suggesting both Israel and the PA “have made way too big a deal over this.”
No, they haven’t. The Israelis are appalled by a foreign country that makes unilateral decisions in defiance of the host country. The PA knows that without this foothold they can’t maintain their claim on Jerusalem.
There was one positive note in Nide’s closing comment. He admitted that “I would be lying to you if I said I had a peace plan ready to roll out.” He then wondered, “At some point would this administration engage in trying to do something broader? Maybe.”