Tom Nides, US President Joe Biden’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel, tells the Senate in response to questioning that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and says the US Embassy will remain there permanently.
Nides adds that if confirmed, he will live in Jerusalem, after the former ambassador’s residence in Herzliya was sold to late Jewish-American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
He also said the Biden administration’s efforts to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem, which historically served as a de facto mission to the Palestinians, “will have no impact upon the capital of Israel being Jerusalem.”
Asked if he recognizes the Golan Heights as part of Israel following former president Donald Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the plateau, Nides echoes the Biden administration’s position that Israel should retain control of the territory due to the threat posed by the Assad regime in Syria, and calling it a strategic position for Israeli.
Turning to the Palestinians, he says re-scheduling elections that were indefinitely canceled earlier this year by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “would be good for the Palestinians.”
Abbas claimed the decision had to do with Israel’s refusal to allow balloting in East Jerusalem. Israel has yet avoided commenting publicly on the matter.
“I will work with the Israeli government to ensure that issue is not an obstacle to achieving elections,” Nides says.