On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley gave a fiery speech in which she blistered the U.N. for its gross bias against Israel, ripped Hamas for subjugating the Palestinians in Gaza, and slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for leaving the U.N. chamber before she made her remarks.
Haley began her remarks by noting, “We are meeting today in a forum that is very familiar to all of us. This session on the Middle East has been taking place each month for many, many years. It’s focus has been almost entirely on issues facing Israelis and Palestinians, and we have heard many of the same arguments and ideas over and over again; we have already heard them this morning. It’s as if saying the same things repeatedly, without doing the actual hard work and making the necessary compromises will achieve anything.”
After thanking people who have worked with the Trump Administration to work for peace, noting that they had tried to broaden the discussion about the Middle East, Haley continued:
One reason we did that is our well-founded belief that the United Nations spends an altogether disproportionate amount of time on Israeli-Palestinian issues. It’s not that those issues are unimportant; they are certainly very important. The problem is that the U.N. has proven itself, time and again, to be a grossly biased organization when it comes to Israel. As such, the U.N.’s disproportionate focus has actually made the problem more difficult to solve by elevating the tensions and the grievances between the two parties. Another reason we have attempted to shift the discussion is that the vast scope of the challenges facing the region dwarf the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Haley listed the incendiary situations in Yemen, Syria, and the strengthening of the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon; the remaining members of Islamic State, who still pose a threat; and last, the “terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iran, that initiates and encourages most of the troubles I just outlined.” She added, “These immense security and humanitarian challenges throughout the region should occupy our attention, rather than having us sit here, month after month, and use the most democratic country in the Middle East as a scapegoat for the region’s problems.”
She continued, “Israel has been forced to live under constant security threats like virtually no other country in the world. It should not have to live that way. And yet, Israel has overcome those burdens. It is a thriving country.”
Haley then turned to the Palestinians. “It is the Palestinian people who are suffering more. The Palestinians in Gaza live under Hamas terrorist oppression. I can’t even call it a government authority, as Hamas provides so little in the way of what one would normally think of as government services. The people of Gaza live in truly awful conditions, while their Hamas rulers put their resources into building terror tunnels and rockets.”
After noting that Abbas had left the room, Haley said the rest of her remarks would be directed to him, despite the fact that he had exited.
Haley ripped the infamous U.N. resolution 2334, which the Obama Administration could have vetoed in the Security Council in December 2016, but did not. She stated that while she would not go into detail, the fact that the resolution encouraged the notion that Israel could be pushed into a deal against its vital interests damaged the prospects for peace.
Haley than reached the summit, stating:
I sit here today offering the outstretched hand of the United States to the Palestinian people in the cause of peace. We are full prepared to look to a future of prosperity and coexistence. We welcome you as the leader of the Palestinian people here today. But I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saab Erekat: I will not shut up. Rather, I will speak some hard truths.
The Palestinian leadership has a choice between two different paths: there is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people. Or there is the path of negotiation and compromise. History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan, including the transfer of territory. That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership if only it is courageous enough to take it.
The United States knows the Palestinian leadership was very unhappy with the decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem. You don’t have to like that decision; you don’t have to praise it; you don’t even have to accept it. But know this: that decision? Will — not — change.
So once again, you must choose between two paths. You can choose to denounce the United States, reject the U.S. role in peace talks, and pursue punitive measures against Israel in international forums like the U.N. I assure you that path will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward the achievement of their aspirations. Or you can choose to put aside your anger about the location of our embassy and move forward with us toward a negotiated compromise that holds great potential for improving the lives of the Palestinian people.
Haley concluded, “Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”