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Biden to Name New Ambassador to Israel in Late May

Biden to Name New Ambassador to Israel in Late May

Thursday, 13 May, 2021 - 08:45
Smoke rises from a tower after it was hit by Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday that US President Joe Biden will name a "qualified, experienced" ambassador to Israel over the coming weeks, a post that has been vacant since January.

Senior US officials said Biden is expected to announce the nominations before late May, noting that there are 10 candidates for the post, including former State Department official Thomas Nides and Robert Wexler, a former Florida congressman.

“Just since this weekend, we’ve had more than 25 high-level calls and meetings by senior US officials with senior officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and other stakeholders, including the Tunisians, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, who, as you all know, have an important role to play in the region as we work to move towards de-escalation,” noted Psaki.

The administration is highly pressured by the right-wing Republicans, who are demanding further support for Israel, and Progressive Democrats who slam Israel’s inhumane actions and demand Biden to take decisive steps to protect the rights of Palestinians.

“The United States must call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to provocative and illegal settlement activity,” Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted.

“We must also recommit to working with Israelis and Palestinians to finally end this conflict,” he stressed.

“Once again we are seeing how the irresponsible actions of government-allied right-wing extremists in Jerusalem can escalate quickly into devastating war.”

Meanwhile, J Street, a liberal Jewish advocacy group in Washington that supports the two-state solution, issued a statement urging the Biden administration to take urgent, proactive and decisive steps to help de-escalate this crisis and to secure an urgent ceasefire.

“The ongoing conflict and occupation cannot be ignored. Simply working to reduce tensions when violence boils over is not enough. This conflict demands bold, proactive and continuous diplomatic engagement from the Biden administration and the international community,” the statement read.

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