Brazil president rejects settler leader as Israel envoy

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BRASSILA: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has reportedly rejected the appointment of a hardliner as Israel’s envoy to her country, saying it could be understood as support for the illegal Israeli settlements.

According to an article published on Israeli website Ynetnews, Rousseff has sent a message to the Tel Aviv regime, expressing her discomfort with the appointment of Dani Dayan, an extremist in charge of running the affairs of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The rejection has been part of some covert communications between Brazil and Israel with Rio de Janeiro warning the Tel Aviv regime that it should not go ahead with Dayan’s nomination to the job or mutual relations could seriously be endangered.

Various organizations and individuals have been pressuring Rousseff to reject Dayan due to his background in opposing the rights of Palestinians and his contribution to the illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank. A petition in August called the appointment “a violation of the international legitimacy and sovereignty of Brazil.”

From 2007 to 2013, Dayan was the chairman of the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of settlement councils in the Occupied West Bank. He is also a renowned opponent of the so-called two-state solution.

A group of activists submitted a request to the Brazilian government on Monday, demanding the rejection of Dayan as Israel’s ambassador. According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the activists met with Brazilian envoys to the occupied territories as well as Brazil’s envoy to the Occupied West Bank and reiterated that accepting the appointee would help legitimize the settlement enterprise.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Dayan’s appointment three weeks ago. Based on diplomatic protocols, once Dayan’s appointment is officially confirmed by Israel, the Brazilian government will be sent a request to endorse the decision.

It is rare for a host country to reject a foreign envoy but if Netanyahu decides to insist on his choice, he could face a formal rejection. Israel has always sought better relations with Brazil as one of the most prosperous economic countries in the world and a major power in South America.

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