WASHINGTON – US President George W. Bush on Wednesday night named James Cunningham as the next American ambassador to Israel.
Cunningham will replace Richard Jones, who has been serving in the same role for almost three years.
Cunningham, a career diplomat, has served over the past three years as consul-general of the United States in Hong Kong for three years. He previously served as deputy US representative to the United Nations.
The new ambassador's diverse career includes a large number of roles related to the UN and Europe, but this is the first time he is appointed to serve in the Middle East.
During his tenure in the UN, Cunningham criticized an IDF operation in the Gaza Strip. On May 19, 2004, the Security Council condemned Israel in a move supported by 14 states, while the US abstained.
Immediately after the Council session, Cunningham told reporters that the Israeli operation in Gaza had led to a deterioration in the humanitarian situation, ended with a conflict between Israeli and Palestinian forces and failed to improve Israel's security situation.
About three months ago, the Jewish American daily Forward reported that Ambassador Richard Jones had met with Supreme Court president Dorit Beinish to discuss the separation fence and the settlement. According to the report, the two discussed recent court rulings in regards to Israel's settlement policy.