US should fear a nuclear Iran, not West Bank settlements, Elhayani says

It would be better if the US ambassador will deal with the really dangerous issues" such as "a nuclear Iran that's a threat to the entire Middle East."

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a virtual speech, on the occasion of the Prophet Mohammad's birthday, in Tehran, Iran November 3, 2020. (photo credit: OFFICIAL KHAMENEI WEBSITE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a virtual speech, on the occasion of the Prophet Mohammad's birthday, in Tehran, Iran November 3, 2020.
(photo credit: OFFICIAL KHAMENEI WEBSITE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

The Biden Administration should focus on preventing a nuclear Iran rather than wasting its energy worrying about West Bank settlements, Yesha Council head David Elhayani said on Wednesday.

Elhayani spoke in response to comments US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides made during a virtual event with Americans for Peace Now. Nides described his role as stopping people from doing "stupid things" like settlement building which prevent the realization of a two-state resolution to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians. 

Nides explained that settlement activity "infuriates me."

Elhayani said: "It would be better if the ambassador dealt with really dangerous issues" such as "the Iranian nuclear threat to the entire Middle East."

Nides should also focus on the "dozens of terrorist incidents that take place every day in Judea and Samaria against innocent Israeli citizens, the illegal takeover of Palestine takeover of Judea and Samaria and the destruction of its archeology and heritage sites."

A PALESTINIAN flag hangs on a tree during a protest against settlements in An-Naqura near Nabulus. (credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/ REUTERS)A PALESTINIAN flag hangs on a tree during a protest against settlements in An-Naqura near Nabulus. (credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/ REUTERS)

The Ambassador's words, Elhayani said, were consistent with the policies of the administration he represents and that, therefore, "we are not surprised by such nonsense."

"Judea and Samaria is the land of the Jewish people, so it was and so it will remain," Elhayani said.

Efrat Council head Oded Reviv said chalked Nides comments up to internal US politics.

"It is disappointing that the Biden Administration is viewing US-Israel relations through their domestic political lens," Revivi said.

"Whether it is their desperate efforts to achieve a tragically weak Iran nuclear deal or their need to appease radicals who oppose Israeli construction in our capital, this Administration is on a trajectory that will lead to continued destabilization and less peace," Revivi explained.  

'In my first meeting with Ambassador Nides, I encouraged him to visit Efrat where he could view for himself the immense potential that Israeli-Palestinian collaboration can offer as a pathway to resolve the conflict – much more effective than the failed policy of telling Jews where they are not allowed to live.  It is clear that Ambassador Nides would genuinely want to pursue policies that advance peace and not segregation."

Revivi suggested that Nides focus on constructive initiatives like investing in joint industrial areas that benefit Israelis and Palestinians "as opposed to applying the weight of the US government to decide who can or cannot live in a particular area."