Haley to Palestinian Leader: "I Will Not Shut Up" and Jerusalem Decision "Will Not Change"

by PATRICK GOODENOUGH February 21, 2018


Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday delivered a lengthy speech at the U.N. condemning Israel and the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but left the Security Council chamber before the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors could respond.

Had he stayed, Abbas would have heard U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley tell him that, despite having been advised to do so recently by the senior Palestinian negotiator, she would "not shut up."

"I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat," she said. "I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths."

Erekat made the curt comment in an interview with a Palestinian news agency this month, after Haley in a previous Security Council speech effectively told the Palestinians they should get new leaders if they expect to achieve a peace settlement with Israel.

In remarks directed at the departed Abbas Tuesday, Haley said the Palestinian leadership faced a choice between "the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence," and "the path of negotiation and compromise."

"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." she said. "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."

On President Trump's December 6 Jerusalem policy announcement, Haley stressed that whether Abbas likes or accepts it or not, the U.S. decision "will not change."

"The United States knows the Palestinian leadership was very unhappy with the decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem," she said. "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."

She ended her remarks by repeating a position she stated in the Security Council speech last month that prompted Erekat's sharp response. On that occasion, she said the Trump administration "will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace."

"As I mentioned in this meeting last month, the United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership," she said Tuesday.

Referring to Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, both seated in the chamber, Haley continued, "Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, mister president, is yours."

‘You are the problem'

In his lengthy statement earlier, Abbas called Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital a "dangerous" violation of international law, demanding that he suspend the decision and not move the U.S. Embassy to the city.

He concluded his statement by saying the Security Council was the highest body to which the peoples of the world look for protection.

"After this council, we rest our issue to the Almighty until judgment day," he said through an interpreter. "For if justice for our people cannot be attained here, then to where should we go?"

"We call upon you, we beg you, to help us. Help us, so that we do not commit an act that goes against our beliefs and your beliefs."

In his remarks to the council, Israeli ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon also addressed the absent Abbas directly, criticizing him for putting his demands on the table and then "running away."

"Mr. Abbas, you have made it clear with your words and with your actions, that you are no longer part of the solution. You are the problem," he said.

"The Palestinians need leadership that will invest in education, not glorify violence," Danon said. "They need leadership that will build hospitals, not pay terrorists. They need leadership that will negotiate with Israel - speak to us - and not run away from dialogue."

Abbas' four mandate as "president of the State of Palestine" expired nine years ago, but his tenure has been extended and elections postponed, by decree, ever since.

Courtesy of CNSNews.com   

Patrick covered government and politics in South Africa and the Middle East before joining CNSNews.com in 1999. Since then he has launched foreign bureaus for CNSNews.com in Jerusalem, London and the Pacific Rim. From October 2006 to July 2007, Patrick served as Managing Editor at the organization's world headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Now back in the Pacific Rim, as International Editor he reports on politics, international relations, security, terrorism, ethics and religion, and oversees reporting by CNSNews.com's roster of international stringers.

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