A diplomat without an ideology ? – the US ambassador’s words suggest otherwise

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides (File)

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  January 18, 2022

The administration of US President Joe Biden is employing diplomatic tact which says nothing about its foreign policy in terms of Palestine, other than that it is doing its utmost to align itself with the international consensus on the two-state compromise while doing nothing to reverse the poisonous legacy of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump.

There are no plans to visit Israel settlements, said new US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides last week. “Because just like I ask both the Palestinians and Israelis not to take steps that inflame the situation, I don’t want to do things intentionally that would create disrespect or anger among people,” he explained. This weak attempt to portray a degree of parity between Palestinians — the occupied people — and Israel — the occupation state — barely disguises the fact that the US is trying to appease the Palestinians by offering a symbolic gesture, while indicating explicitly that it will refrain from upsetting Israel and the new status quo it has created.

“When it comes to Israel, I have no ideology,” declared Nides. “All I care about is that Israel will remain a strong, democratic and Jewish state.” This claim to have no ideology suits Israel well, but it is entirely untrue. The ambassador’s use of the words “will remain” and the rhetoric that followed, is yet more proof of the US and Nides himself supporting Israel’s settler-colonialism and apartheid in occupied Palestine. What could possibly be more ideological than that?

Nides’ ambitions are particularly low-key in terms of his personal objective. He explained that he would consider his role a success “if he manages to keep prospects for a two-state solution alive.” Sorry, ambassador, but the international community has done that already, in the immediate aftermath of the “solution” being declared obsolete even by the Middle East Quartet. It is delusional to think that the two-state compromise can be implemented now given the size and extent of Israel’s illegal settlements, but nothing prevents diplomats from speaking of hypothetical “prospects”, which in turn enables them to support Israel’s colonial expansion while promoting the illusion of state-building with the Palestinian Authority.

Moreover, Nides’ reasoning for his two-state stance reveals how pro-Israel the entire charade is. “My support for a two-state solution – a solution that President Biden of course supports – my support for the well-being of the Palestinian people, all of this stems from the belief that Israel will be strengthened this way,” he explained.

Briefly, he is promoting the concept that concern for the Palestinian people’s well-being – significantly, there is no mention of Palestinian autonomy – means nothing if it doesn’t play directly into Israel’s demands. And the current predicament in which Palestinians find themselves is facing a US-Israeli-PA plot that keeps Mahmoud Abbas at the helm, for Israel’s benefit of course, while the people are granted a few concessions to stave off the repercussions of decades of discontent as a result of being deprived of their legitimate political rights.

A diplomat without an ideology? Nides’ statements dispel such a concept. It would have been far more honest for him to assert that the US will do all it can to keep Palestinians waiting, which will only benefit Israel and the PA. Biden was elected to oust Trump, and the PA fell prey to US sentiment on the matter. Biden’s administration is proving to be very reluctant to oust Trump’s legacy from its diplomacy, though, which is entirely detrimental to the people of occupied Palestine. And all, of course, to ensure that “Israel will be strengthened”.

Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger; her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America