US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley torched top Palestinian officials in a blistering speech during a meeting of the UN Security Council.
Haley did not flinch in her direct response to the slight by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who walked out of the chamber before her remarks, and in her direct shot at top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat who had told her to “shut up” about criticism of Abbas earlier this month.
“Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours,” Haley said at the UN Security Council in New York on Monday, with President Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner behind her.
“But I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths,” she said, in a no-nonsense challenge referring to Erekat’s insult of the ambassador, calling her “impudent” and ordering her to cease her attacks against Abbas.
Abbas left the meeting after his own address to the Security Council in which he blasted the U.S. and the Trump administration, according to CNN.
“We met with the President of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump, four times in 2017, and we have expressed our absolute readiness to reach a historic peace agreement,” Abbas said. “Yet, this administration has not clarified its position. Is it for the two-state solution or the one-state solution?”
Haley minced no words in responding to the Palestinian leader.
“I sit here today offering the outstretched hand of the United States to the Palestinian people in the cause of peace. We are fully prepared to look to a future of prosperity and co-existence. We welcome you as the leader of the Palestinian people here today,” she said, though Abbas was long gone.
“The Palestinian leadership has a choice to make 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,” she continued. “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.”
Haley also rebuked the Palestinians’ criticism of Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, with Abbas calling the move “unlawful” during his remarks.
“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,” Haley firmly stated.
“I expected Mr. Abbas to stay with us and have a dialogue, unfortunately he’s once again running away,” Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN said, according to CNN. “Look what just happened in this room. Mr. Abbas came in, he put his demands on the table, and he left, and he’s expecting you to deliver the results. It’s not going to work that way. The only way to move forward is to have direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,”
Haley warned Abbas of a future based on his continued hatred and attacks against the U.S.
“I assure you that path will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward the achievement of their aspirations,” she said.
“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,” she concluded. “Putting forward old talking points and entrenched and undeveloped concepts achieves nothing. That approach has been tried many times, and has always failed. After so many decades, we welcome new thinking.”