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US envoy reiterates anti-settlement stance

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides seen at the 2015 Concordia Summit in his former role as Managing Director of Morgan Stanley, in New York on October 2, 2015 [Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit]
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides seen at the 2015 Concordia Summit in his former role as Managing Director of Morgan Stanley, in New York on October 2, 2015 [Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit]

The US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, reiterated on Tuesday his anti-settlement stance and insisted that Palestinians are ultimately most interested in self-determination.

Speaking during an online event hosted by Americans for Peace Now, Nides said that the Palestinians cannot be "bought off" with plans requiring them to forgo political sovereignty.

"We cannot do stupid things that impede us for a two-state solution," he said candidly. "What I mean is we cannot 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 that just infuriate the situation in east Jerusalem and the West Bank."

According to the Jerusalem Post, Nides was blunt about his efforts to halt the E1 plan, pointing out that the US has long opposed E1 believing that it would harm the viability of a two-state resolution to the conflict.

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"I went full board on E1," he said. "It is a very important area which if [built] could cut off any possibility of a capital for the Palestinians."

Meanwhile, Nides said that he "would be lying" if he said that it was possible to avert "every single house that is built. I cannot stop everything, just so we are clear."

Jerusalem Post writer Herb Keinon criticised the ambassador for saying that the building of settlement units in the occupied territories "infuriates" him, while the Palestinian Authority payment of stipends to the families of Palestinian "terrorists" is merely "problematic".

Keinon added that, "To his credit, Nides acknowledged that the Palestinians are not without fault." The US envoy, he pointed out, told Americans for Peace Now, "By the way, the Palestinians are not perfect either. I want to be clear here."

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Asia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUS
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