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The Brazilian president's special adviser on foreign affairs has spoken out against Israel's nomination of a former leader of the West Bank settler movement to be the new ambassador to Brazil

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RIO DE JANEIRO — A senior Brazilian official is expressing unhappiness at Israel's nomination of a former West Bank settler leader to be the new ambassador to the South American nation, calling the action "a false step."

Israel nominated Dayan in August, but Brazil has not yet responded. Brazilian officials had remained largely mute on the reasons for the holdup until comments Tuesday to the state-run broadcaster TV Brazil by President 's special adviser on foreign affairs, Marco Aurelio Garcia.

Garcia said Dayan is known to hold opinions contrary to two important points of Brazilian foreign policy — its opposition to West Bank settlements and support of a future Palestinian state. Dayan is a former chairman of a council representing West Bank settlers.

"I think it was a false step made by the Israeli government," Garcia said, adding that Israel broke diplomatic conventions by making Dayan's name public before Brazil had accepted the nomination.

Israeli President has repeatedly voiced his support for Dayan.

In response to a question from a Brazilian journalist last week, Netanyahu insisted, "He's a great candidate. He is my candidate."

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip — territories claimed by the Palestinians for their future state — in the 1967 Mideast war. While Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, nearly 600,000 Israelis now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The international community, along with the Palestinians, widely opposes the settlements, saying they undercut the goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The standoff over Dayan follows earlier flare-ups between Israel and Brazil, whose leaders have been vocal advocates of the Palestinian cause in recent years.

In 2010, the Brazilian government recognized the state of Palestine along the pre-1967 lines. Under Rousseff's leadership, Brazil also backed Palestine in a key U.N. vote in 2012, and in 2014 recalled its ambassador from Israel to protest a military offensive against Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israel said the offensive was necessary to halt heavy rocket fire out of Gaza, and an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman subsequently called Brazil a "diplomatic dwarf," angering the Brazilians and forcing Israel's president to issue an apology.

Despite the differences, Israel and Brazil enjoy strong trade ties.

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PHOTO: FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2009, file photo, former Chairman of the Yesha Council Dani Dayan, speaks, during a meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem. In a landmark test case for Israel, the appointment of Dayan as its next ambassador to Brazil is suddenly in trouble due to his ties to the West Bank settlement movement. Brazil has reportedly expressed objections to the appointment of Dayan, raising questions about when or even if he will take up the post. (AP Photo/Olivier Fitoussi, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2009, file photo, former Chairman of the Yesha Council Dani Dayan, speaks, during a meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem. In a landmark test case for Israel, the appointment of Dayan as its next ambassador to Brazil is suddenly in trouble due to his ties to the West Bank settlement movement. Brazil has reportedly expressed objections to the appointment of Dayan, raising questions about when or even if he will take up the post. (AP Photo/Olivier Fitoussi, File)

 

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