Israel backs down in row with Brazil over ambassador

Israel has backed down in a long-running and bitter diplomatic dispute with Brazil, withdrawing its nomination of a controversial settler leader as ambassador after Brasília refused to accept his credentials.


The seven-month long impasse over the planned appointment of Dani Dayan, a former chairman of the the West Bank Yesha settler council, came to an end on Monday when Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who is also the country’s foreign minister, announced he would be appointed consul general in New York instead.


Rejection of a proposed ambassador is extremely rare and had drawn considerable attention to the Dayan case.


According to Israel’s deputy foreign minister late last year, the Dayan case was the first instance in which a proposed Israeli diplomat had been rejected for his “ideological” views.


The move comes despite repeated insistence by senior officials that they would ensure that Dayan – who lives in a settlement – would be allowed to take up his post in Brazil.


Under diplomatic protocols, when a new ambassador is proposed if the accepting country does not officially accept the appointment – known as agrément – it is supposed to be understood that the appointment is rejected, the situation in Dayan’s case.


Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, last summer sent messages to Israel making clear she disapproved of the appointment of the Argentina-born Dayan because of his involvement in promoting illegal Israeli settlement construction.


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