Israel Endorses Kurtzer as US Envoy
Israel has formally endorsed Washington's selection of career diplomat Daniel Kurtzer to be its next ambassador to Israel, clearing the way for a formal announcement by the White House as early as next week and a Senate confirmation hearing soon after, a senior US administration official said on Monday.
"We have Israeli agreement," the official said, quoted by the Jerusalem Post newspaper.
As part of diplomatic protocol, the US routinely seeks approval of a chosen envoy from the country where he or she will be posted.
The official said Israel responded a few days ago to a US document asking for its endorsement of Kurtzer, who currently serves as ambassador to Egypt.
According to the Post, Kurtzer will be the first Orthodox Jew to hold the post and is expected to replace the current ambassador, Martin Indyk, by July.
A career diplomat with dovish views regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kurtzer served as a key member of the US peace-process team for more than a decade.
In 1997, he sought the Tel Aviv posting, but was instead directed by then-president Bill Clinton to Cairo, where he “developed good working relations with Egyptian officials, but was at times mocked in the Egyptian press for his religious beliefs,” claimed the paper.
Throughout his career, Kurtzer - who is widely admired by State Department bureaucrats, particularly in the Bureau of Near East Affairs - has specialized in the Middle East and has held a variety of diplomatic jobs in both Democratic and Republican administrations.
He was an early proponent of US dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and has been a consistent supporter of close US-Egypt ties.
Kurtzer's appointment will bring the administration one step closer to rounding out its Middle East diplomatic team, the paper added.
Also expected to be announced soon is the appointment of Edward W. Gnehm, Jr., currently US ambassador to Australia, as ambassador to Jordan, US diplomatic sources in Washington told the Post.
Gnehm served as deputy chief of mission in Amman in the mid-1980s, as ambassador to Kuwait in the early 1990s, and has also served in Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)