Haley makes 'desperate attempts to whitewash the occupation'

PA slams Nikki Haley as ‘ambassador of hatred’ after she blocks anti-Israel move

Palestinian fume as US foils UN Security Council condemnation of Israel for Gaza protest deaths, amid continuing tension between Ramallah and Washington

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at the Security Council on March 14, 2018, at UN headquarters in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at the Security Council on March 14, 2018, at UN headquarters in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

The Palestinian Authority on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, dubbing her an “ambassador of animosity, hatred and dark ideology,” after she blocked a UN condemnation of Israel.

The PA said that Haley was responsible for aborting a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for Friday’s deaths and injuries of Palestinians during mass protests along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

“The US ambassador insists on taking positions in support of the occupation and in defense of its crimes and violations,” said a statement issued by the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ramallah.

Blaming Haley for adopting a “barefaced hostile position” against the Palestinians, the ministry accused Haley of “blind bias in favor of Israel and its crimes.”

The United States on Saturday blocked a draft UN Security Council statement urging restraint and calling for an investigation of clashes on the Gaza-Israel border.

Kuwait, which represents Arab countries on the council, presented the proposed statement, which called for an “independent and transparent investigation” of the violence.

The Israeli military on Saturday night identified 10 of the 15 people reported killed during violent protests along the Gaza security fence as members of Palestinian terrorist groups, and published a list of their names and positions in the organizations.

The draft statement was circulated to the council on Friday, but on Saturday, the US raised objections and said it did not support its adoption, a Security Council diplomat told AFP.

The Security Council held a closed meeting on Friday night to discuss the clashes along the Gaza-Israel border, despite a request from the US and Israel to postpone deliberations for Saturday, due to Passover holiday eve.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley greets Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, at the conclusion of a UN Security Council meeting concerning the situation in the Middle East, at United Nations headquarters, December 18, 2017, in New York City. The United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution seeking to reaffirm Jerusalem’s status as unresolved. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

The latest attack on Haley is another sign of the continued crisis between the PA leadership and the US administration, which erupted immediately after President Donald Trump’s December 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It follows several verbal attacks by PA President Mahmoud Abbas on US envoy to Israel David Friedman, including calling him a “son of a dog” and a “settler,” using both terms as insults.

Since the Jerusalem announcement, the PA has been boycotting representatives of the Trump administration.

“Haley’s attempt to justify Trump’s decision on Jerusalem by calling it an internal US issue makes her appear as a representative of the right-wing parties ruling Israel,” the PA ministry charged on Sunday.

Haley’s powerful and public support for Israel at the UN and other forums in recent months has turned her into a target of frequent attacks by PA officials.

Earlier this year, senior PLO official Saeb Erekat, in an interview with a Palestinian news website, advised Haley to “shut up.”

Sunday’s statement from the PA ministry also took Haley to task for blaming the Palestinians for the current stalemate in the peace process and for her “incitement” against Abbas.

In a speech before the UN Security Council in February, Haley said, addressing Abbas: “The United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership. Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”

The US, she added, will not “chase” the Palestinians to bring them back to the negotiating table with Israel.

Haley also responded to Erekat’s “shut up” remark. “I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator Saeb Erekat,” she said. “I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.”

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks at the Haaretz and New Israel Fund conference in New York City on December 13, 2015. (Amir Levy/Flash90/File)

Haley told the Palestinians they had two choices: either go on a “path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence” or a “path of negotiation and compromise.” The latter, she said, “remains open to the Palestinian leadership if only it is courageous enough to take it.”

“You can choose to denounce the United States, reject its role in peace talks, and pursue punitive measures against Israel in international forums like the UN. I assure that path will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward the achievement of their aspirations,” she added. “Or you can choose to put aside your anger about the location of our embassy and move forward with us toward a negotiated compromise that holds great potential for improving the lives of the Palestinian people.”

The PA ministry statement on Sunday accused Haley of engaging in “lies and misinformation” and said it was doing everything possible to get the peace process back on track.

The PA statement claimed that the US administration has thus far failed to make any proposal to the Palestinians that would pave the way for the resumption of a “real” peace process.

“Haley’s attack on President Abbas, whose positions reflect the Palestinian national consensus and Palestinians’ higher interests, comes in the context of the aggression and incitement waged by the US administration against the Palestinian people and their rights, with the aim of subjugating them and forcing them to surrender,” the PA ministry charged.

“Haley’s positions and statements come in the context of her desperate attempts to whitewash the occupation and mislead international public opinion with a series of lies. This reflects either total ignorance of the reality of the conflict, or a blind ideological bias in favor of the occupation, which is the closest to the truth.”

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