Saturday, August 6, 2016

Why did Netanyahu appoint a settler as top NY diplomat?

Akiva Eldar, "Why did Netanyahu appoint a settler as top NY diplomat?"

Image from article, with caption: Former settler leader Dani Dayan, who was announced as the consul-general in New York on Monday, participates in a conference on fighting the anti-Israel boycott in Jerusalem, March 28, 2016.

It ... stands to reason that a government that advocates a two-state solution would not entrust an important diplomatic mission to a citizen who declares his out-and-out opposition to said solution. ...

On Aug. 1, Dani Dayan, a veteran West Bank settler, assumed his position as Israeli consul general in New York. He was awarded the coveted position after the Brazilian government refused to accept his appointment as Israel’s ambassador because he is a resident of an occupied territory. (Of note, in 2006 the George W. Bush administration confirmed the nomination of Sali Meridor, a resident of the Kfar Adumim settlement, as Israel’s ambassador to Washington.) Unlike with ambassadors, the appointment of a consul does not require the approval of the host government.
Dayan had spent the last few years on a public diplomacy campaign in Israel and abroad to strengthen opposition to the two-state solution and to encourage expansion of the settlement enterprise. Thus, for example, at the July 2014 Israel Conference on Peace, sponsored by Haaretz, Dayan said there were two problems with the two-state solution: “It is not attainable, and if it is attained, it will not bring peace, only serve as a prelude to the next war.” He went on to liken the peace process to a “desert mirage, hot air.”
In an inaugural article as a senior Israeli diplomat on Aug. 1, Dayan wrote in The Huffington Post that representing Israel, which is led by a largely conservative government, in a liberal city like New York is likely one of the most challenging but exciting jobs that Israel’s foreign service has to offer. Indeed, a challenging job. He will probably have to try and convince people of liberal persuasions that expanding the West Bank settlement where he has his house is compatible with promoting the two-state solution.
Dayan pledged in the article not “to ignore the elephant in the room,” namely, “The Conflict,” and the “heated discussion how it should be solved or managed.” It is unclear, however, on which side of the argument he plans to position himself. If Dayan adheres to his belief that the two-state solution is a recipe for war, he would seemingly be betraying those who dispatched him. On the other hand, if he faithfully fulfills his duty and explains the importance of the two-state solution for the attainment of peace, he would be lying to himself. The man who served as chairman of the West Bank settlement council and who ran for office on the HaBayit HaYehudi's Knesset list is considered honest, a man known for speaking his mind. How will he deal with this dilemma?
Dayan has quite easily found a way out of this thicket. ... [H]e will explain that the Palestinians, not the Israelis, are to blame for a Palestinian state not having been established. The Palestinians want to annihilate the occupier, and they missed every opportunity to have a state of their own. Dayan will not be the only one in Israel’s New York delegation building who has conducted a campaign against the prime minister’s official policy in regard to the establishment of a Palestinian state. ...

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