Nikki Haley on Embassy Move: 'When Both Parties Recognize Reality, Peace Comes'

By Susan Jones | December 11, 2017 | 5:00am EST
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (Photo: Screen grab/CBS "Face the Nation")

( - President Trump's official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has been greeted with violence among Palestinians and their supporters, but "it is absolutely the right thing to do," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday.

"It's the right thing to do because it's just reality. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel," Haley told CBS's "Face the Nation." She said it makes sense for our embassy to be there, because Jerusalem is where Israel's prime minister, president, parliament, and supreme court are located.

Asked if Trump's stated intention to move the U.S. embassy is worth all the violence, Haley indicated that Trump's move is the best way to achieve peace:

I think that when you recognize the truth, when both parties recognize reality, peace comes.

And that's just -- that's just the true reality of the situation. We're living in the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. But, if you notice, when the president spoke, he made it very clear. He didn't talk about boundaries. He didn't talk about borders. He didn't get into any of that, because the final status of Jerusalem is between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

It's not for the Americans to decide. So we are doing what we do in every other country. Israel should be no different. And then we're going to continue to support the peace process.

You know, courage breeds leadership. What you saw was, you saw a courageous move by the president. And, of course, any time you have to use courage, any time you have to go against the status quo, you're going to have people saying the sky is falling. But the sky is not falling.

If anything, what we're going to see is both sides are going to come to the table, they're going to decide what they think Jerusalem should look like, and we're going to support that process.

Host John Dickerson told Haley, "One of the criticisms is, the president gave up a bargaining chip that could be used in negotiation. Another view is, the president is now giving the Israelis something, and now he can ask something from them in return. Which of those two do you subscribe to?"

"So, neither one of those is right," Haley said. She noted that Jerusalem as been a "bargaining chip" for the last 22 years, "and it got us nowhere closer to peace."

"What he did was take it off the table," Haley continued. Jerusalem is the capital of the Israel. Take that off the table. Tell both sides to come together, and say, OK, you decide how you want to split up Jerusalem. You decide if you're going to create boundaries or borders there. And let them decide.

"There are going to be naysayers, John, that say, you shouldn't do this, you shouldn't do this. But they also thought -- they also questioned the president when he first decided to strike for chemical weapons in Syria, and that was true leadership. They said the same thing when we started to push North Korea and push sanctions. That was true leadership.

"This, again, will go down in history to show he made the move that finally got the two parties to come to the table. And it's OK for naysayers, but we know at the end of the day this is the right thing to do."

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