RAMALLAH — The Palestinians on Saturday condemned as “blatant discrimination” Washington’s decision to block the appointment of their former prime minister Salam Fayyad as UN peace envoy to Libya.
UN chief Antonio Guterres nominated Fayyad to the post on Thursday and the Security Council had been expected to approve his appointment without objections.
But late on Friday, US ambassador Nikki Haley announced she was blocking the appointment because “for too long, the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel.”
Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi dismissed the “flimsy excuse” for a move she described as “unconscionable.”
“Blocking the appointment of Dr. Salam Fayyad is a case of blatant discrimination on the basis of national identity,” she said.
Fayyad, 64, was prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013, and also served as finance minister twice.
Israel praised the move even though Fayyad is widely respected in Israel and abroad as a pragmatic and moderate Palestinian leader.
Crikey: Even I like Fayyad! https://t.co/rxYTLLfVvz
— Bret Stephens (@BretStephensNYT) February 11, 2017
“This is the beginning of a new era at the UN. The United States stands firmly and unapologetically beside Israel,” Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said.
Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro slammed the move as “stunningly dumb” in a tweet.
“True it’s farce, ridiculous. But if you know Fayyad — decent, smart, honest, ethical, hardworking — it’s much more outrageous,” Shapiro said.
Fayyad had been tapped to replace Martin Kobler of Germany, who has been the Libya envoy since November 2015.
Trump's nixing of Elliott Abrams has a lot in common with Haley's vote against Salam Fayyad. Most of all, the ignorance.
— Amir Tibon (@amirtibon) February 11, 2017
US President Donald Trump and Haley have criticized the United Nations for adopting a resolution in December that demanded an end to Israeli settlement building.
“Going forward, the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies,” Haley said on Friday.