Haley Suggests it’s Time The Palestinians Find New Leadership

By Patrick Goodenough | January 25, 2018 | 6:18pm EST
Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting at the U.N. in New York. (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe, File)

(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley on Thursday effectively told the Palestinians to find new leadership if they expect to achieve a peace settlement that leads to a better future for them and Israelis alike.

While the U.S. remains committed to helping Israel and the Palestinian achieve a peace agreement, she told the U.N. Security Council, “we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace.”

Haley compared Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas unfavorably with other Arab leaders who, she said, had taken courageous steps to reach peace agreements with Israel in decades past.

She contrasted statements by Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat (who signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1979) and Jordan’s King Hussein (who made peace with Israel in 1994) with a speech by Abbas to his PLO central council earlier this month.

“He rejected any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American president. He called for suspending recognition of Israel,” Haley said of Abbas. “He invoked an ugly and fictional past, reaching back to the 17th century to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers.”

In contrast, she recalled that Sadat traveled to Jerusalem to address the Knesset in 1977.

“Sadat did not go to Jerusalem on bended knee. He spoke in no uncertain terms about the hard concessions he expected from the Israelis,” she said.

“And then he said the words that both he and the world knew marked a turning point. He said to the Israeli legislators, ‘You want to live with us in this part of the world. In all sincerity, I tell you, we welcome you among us, with full security and safety.’

“‘We used to reject you,’ he said. ‘Yet today, I tell you, and declare it to the whole world, that we accept to live with you in permanent peace based on justice.’”

There would still be lengthy negotiations and difficult concessions ahead before the Israel-Egypt peace deal was finalized, Haley said, but those words of Sadat in Jerusalem “helped make Israel understand that it had a partner with whom it could make those painful compromises.”

In Abbas’ case, however, “a speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace.”

“Hate-filled speeches and end-runs around negotiations take us nowhere,” Haley said. “Ultimately, peace will not be achieved without leaders with courage.”

After quoting King Hussein’s comments in 1994 about “peace with dignity” between Israel and Jordan after 46 years of war, Haley continued:

“Where is the Palestinian King Hussein? Where is the Palestinian Anwar Sadat? If President Abbas demonstrates he can be that type of leader, we would welcome it. His recent actions demonstrate the total opposite.”

Haley said the U.S. remains committed to helping Israel and the Palestinian to reach a historic peace agreement, as it helped Israel to do with the Egyptians and Jordanians.

“But we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace,” she said. “To get historic results, we need courageous leaders. History has provided such leaders in the past. For the sake of the Palestinian and Israeli people, we pray it does so again.”

The U.N. Security Council meets in New York on Thursday, January 25, 2018 on ‘the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.’ (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

According to a Middle East Media Research Institute translation of Abbas’ Jan. 14 speech to the PLO central council, the Palestinian leader painted the establishment of the state of Israel as the result of European colonial maneuvering.

Implicitly disputing the Jews’ 3,000-year-old heritage there, he cited an Egyptian thinker as calling Israel “a colonial enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism.”

Abbas also said “to hell with you” to Trump in response to Twitter messages warning that the Palestinians would forfeit U.S. aid if they reject negotiations. (Other translations say Abbas used an Arab curse meaning “may his house be destroyed.”)

And he directed the same words at the U.S. Congress, for wanting to shut down the PLO mission in Washington.

Abbas retains the title of “president of the State of Palestine” even though his four-year electoral mandate expired nine years ago – in January 2009. His tenure was extended by decree for a year beyond that date, but presidential elections scheduled for January 2010 were then postponed indefinitely, also by decree.


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