update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Nides: ‘US stands by Israel’s right to defend itself’

Washington is “working towards a quick de-escalation,” the American ambassador said.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides arrives to present his credentials at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2021. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides arrives to present his credentials at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Dec. 5, 2021. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.

Washington supports the Jewish state and is working to end the fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said on Thursday.

“Concerned about the continuing rocket launches today. We stand by Israel’s right to defend itself,” Nides tweeted, adding: “Working towards a quick de-escalation.”

Reports surfaced on Wednesday evening that the sides had agreed in principle to an Egyptian-mediated truce, but that did not materialize. U.S. and Qatari officials are also involved in the push to restore calm.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry acknowledged on Thursday that “efforts continue for now without success.”

JNS has learned that Palestinian Islamic Jihad is demanding that Israel end targeted attacks on its commanders, return the body of a Palestinian prisoner who died during a hunger strike and cancel the annual Jerusalem Day flag parade that is set for May 18.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday night updated his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin on the latest developments in “Operation Shield and Arrow” against PIJ.

Gallant briefed Austin on the targeted killing of several senior PIJ leaders and detailed the imminent threats they had posed. He noted “the IDF’s readiness for every operational scenario, including a prolonged, multi-front campaign.”

Gallant emphasized that PIJ had fired more than 500 rockets at Israeli civilian centers since the conflict erupted on Tuesday morning.

Also on Wednesday, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with his Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi about the conflict with Gaza, according to a White House statement.

“Sullivan reaffirmed the administration’s ironclad support for Israel’s security as well as its right to defend its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks,” the statement said. “Sullivan also noted continued regional efforts to broker a ceasefire, and emphasized the need to de-escalate tensions and prevent further loss of life.”

Nides is slated to depart his post this summer after two years in the job. He told senior staff at the embassy on Tuesday morning about his planned departure.

Nides cited personal reasons, having been away from his family since December 2021.

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