The outgoing US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, on Tuesday called on Israelis and Palestinians to back a US peace plan to be unveiled in early 2019, saying it was far more “thoughtful” and creative than any that have come before.
Without revealing details of the plan, drawn up by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Haley said it was far longer than past proposals and included elements that would have previously been “unthinkable.”
“Unlike previous attempts at addressing this conflict, this plan is not just a few pages, containing unspecific and unimaginative guidelines,” said Haley, who is due to leave her post at the end of December.
“It is much longer. It contains much more thoughtful detail. It brings new elements to the discussion, taking advantage of the new world of technology we now live in,” she told a regular session of the Security Council on the Middle East.
“It embraces the reality that things can be done today that were previously unthinkable,” she added. “It recognizes that realities on the ground in the Middle East have changed, and changed in very powerful and important ways.
“The critical question is whether the response will be any different. There are things in the plan that every party will like, and there are things in the plan that every party will not like,” said Haley, who will be replaced by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
Haley said that if countries focus solely on parts of the plan that they do not like, “we would return back to the failed status quo of the last fifty years with no prospects for change.”
But she said, “I assure you there is a lot for both sides to like.”
She said that “both sides would benefit greatly from a peace agreement, but the Palestinians would benefit more, and the Israelis would risk more.”
Her comments were met with a measured response from European states, who said they “would like to reiterate once more and emphasize the EU’s strong continued commitment to the internationally agreed parameters” — which include a two-state solution along the 1967 armistice lines and a settlement of the status of Jerusalem, claimed by both sides as their capital.
“Any peace plan that fails to recognize these internationally agreed parameters would risk being condemned to failure,” the EU states said in a statement.
The Trump administration angered many in the diplomatic community when it moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem this year after recognizing the city as Israel’s capital in December 2017, prompting the Palestinians to break off talks with Washington.
The US administration has cut more than $500 million in Palestinian aid since the start of the Palestinian boycott.
The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. International consensus has been that Jerusalem’s status must be negotiated between the two sides.
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and lawyer Jason Greenblatt, who have led efforts to draft the plan, traveled to the region several times for talks on the proposals.
Greenblatt said in an October interview with The Times of Israel that the plan would “be heavily focused on Israeli security needs” while remaining “fair to the Palestinians.”