Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government should slow down the pace of its judicial overhaul program and build consensus, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said on Sunday night when he addressed the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that met in Jerusalem.
“What binds us [Israel and the United States] together is this love of democracies and the love of institutions, this is how we are able to defend Israel in the UN, which we do time and time again.”Tom Nides
“What binds us [Israel and the United States] together is this love of democracies and the love of institutions, this is how we are able to defend Israel in the UN, which we do time and time again,” he said.
“I think we have some level of credibility of being a really, really good friend,” Nides said.
As a "really good friend of Israel," the US can express some views
In his statement, he repeated the sentiment he had expressed last week in a CNN podcast called the Axe Files.
As a friend of Israel, he said, adding that he believed the US has the credibility of “being a really good friend” the United States can and does “express some views.”
The United States, Nides said, believes "in building some consensus, I made the comment about pumping the brakes, slow down and try to build consensus.”
He explained that he is not offering advice on the details of the plan such as “how Israelis pick their supreme court” but he has spoken out on the need for it to be a broad-based process.
He also spoke of the importance of US funding to the Palestinian people, noting that the Biden administration is in compliance with the Taylor Force Act and is careful not to give funds directly to the Palestinian Authority. Among the issue, he has prioritized is money for east Jerusalem hospitals, he said.
“Cutting off assistance to the Palestinian people is a mistake,” said Nides, adding that “we have to keep the vision of two states alive and to help the Palestinian people Iive a better life.”
Of particular importance, he said, would be the restoration of the security cooperation between Israel and the PA.
Nides clarified that the Biden administration supports former US president Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and backs the Abraham Accords.
“I love the Abraham Accords,” Nides said, noting that the referenced that line maybe 16 times during his confirmation.
“Netanyahu’s legacy is tied to this, it will go down in history as one of the most significant events in the Middle East,” Nides said.
“The Biden administration has fully embraced the Abraham Accords,” Nides said, adding that the US is having conversations that it never had before in the region.
On Iran, he said, that as long as the Iranians are providing armed drones to Russia “there is no chance today [of] us going back to the negotiating table with the Iranians.”
The United States is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, he said, adding that “all options are on the table” and “Israel should do what it needs to do” to defend itself.