U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley again defended the Trump administration’s stance on Jerusalem on Tuesday, telling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the U.S. is “ready to talk” about a peace deal.
Speaking before a UN Security Council meeting on Middle East peace, Haley said the U.S. offers an outstretched hand to the Palestinian people and encouraged Abbas to listen to U.S. negotiators.
“Our negotiators are sitting right behind us, ready to talk,” she said, flanked by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief adviser, and Jason Greenblatt, the administration’s Middle East envoy.
“But we will not chase after you,” Haley added. “The choice, Mister President, is yours.”
Haleys’s remarks followed a rare address by Abbas, who used the occasion to renew his call for an international peace conference that would pave the way for Palestinian statehood. Abbas, who has denounced Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, is seeking an alternative, multilateral negotiation where Washington has less influence.
Abbas also blamed Israel for the moribund peace negotiations over Palestinian statehood, telling the security council that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “shut the door” to a two-state solution.
“It [Israel] has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation as per international law into a situation of permanent settlement colonization,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
The Jerusalem issue continues to stall efforts to revive peace talks with the U.S. as the primary mediator. Israel has claimed Jerusalem as its undivided capital since the founding of the Jewish state, but Palestinians see East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel in 1967, as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Abbas and other Arab leaders say Trump’s decision on Jerusalem precludes the U.S. from acting as an honest broker of peace talks. During her remarks, Haley warned Abbas against turning away from the U.S. as a negotiating partner, saying it “will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward the achievement of their aspirations.”
Though it was addressed directly to Abbas, Haley’s admonishment fell on deaf ears — the Palestinian leader had left the UN chamber immediately following his address.
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon denounced Abbas’ departure after speaking.
“Every time there’s an inch of progress, Mr. Abbas runs away,” he said, according to Bloomberg.
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