No, Nikki Haley, the UN is Not ‘Hostile to Israel’

Published December 10th, 2017 - 03:04 GMT
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers a speech during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Palestine at the United Nations headquarters on December 8, 2017 (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images North America/AFP)
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers a speech during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Palestine at the United Nations headquarters on December 8, 2017 (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images North America/AFP)
  • U.S. envoy to the UN says it is "hostile to Israel"
  • That claim does not hold true under scrutiny
  • She has also said Jerusalem as a whole is Israel's capital - but that might not include the East
  • The U.S. has justified the embassy move through ambiguity and untruths

 

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, has claimed that it “has outrageously been one of the world's foremost centers of hostility towards Israel.”

Under scrutiny, however, that suggestion does not hold out. In fact, her statement is typical of how the U.S. has peddled untruths and ambiguity in its justification of the Jerusalem embassy move.

Haley made the statement during a special U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

It is certainly true that the U.N. has been critical of Israeli actions on multiple occasions.

In December last year, for instance, the Security Council reiterated its belief that Israeli settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are a “flagrant violation” of international law and have “no legal validity.”

Resolution 2334 takes its basis from the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prevents an occupying power from transferring its civilian population onto occupied land. 

It is not “outrageously hostile” against Israel to condemn its breaches of international humanitarian law.

On that resolution, the U.S. was the sole member state to abstain, but not because it did not condemn the settlements, which it said was its “long-standing position.”

Rather it was because Israel, then Ambassador Samantha Power alleged, “had been treated differently from other States for as long as it had been a member of the United Nations.”

18 resolutions adopted by the U.N. General Assembly and Human Rights Council in 2016 had condemned Israel, she pointed out.

It was only because the December resolution also specifically called on the Palestinian Authority to combat terrorism and dismantle terrorist groups that Power said she had allowed it to pass.

But it is not necessary for the U.N. to balance its criticism of two nations in conflict, when the weight of wrongdoing lies predominantly with one of the states. If Israel has contravened international law 18 times, it is not biased to criticize it 18 times.

 

 

Another erroneous and, in context, ironic statement made by Haley was that the "U.N. has done much more damage to the prospects of Middle East peace, than to advance them.”

She added that the U.S. was "committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement.”

Given that numerous world leaders and experts on the conflict had specifically warned that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would all but kill the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, this accusation falls flat.

For the Palestinian leadership and their supporters the decision undermined any U.S. claim to the role of honest broker on Israel-Palestine. Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has said he will not talk to the U.S. until Trump reverses his decision.

In fact, a closer look at Haley’s logic on why the change would advance the peace process reveals that it contains little substance.

She told CNN on Wednesday that “in 22 years we haven’t seen a peace process. Maybe, if we do something different, we will now start to see something move forward.”

The suggestion that the unilateral declaration of the disputed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would somehow magically unblock the stalemate on peace ignores reality.

At least part of the city is claimed as a capital by two nations: claiming the whole city is the capital of just one of those states does nothing to settle the conflict. In fact, a 1993 accord had committed both sides to negotiate its final status in talks at a later state, leaving the issue unresolved.

It is on this matter that Haley most clearly reveals U.S. rhetoric around the Jerusalem move to be nothing more than empty words.

During the same CNN interview last week, the U.S. envoy said: “If you notice, we didn’t say anything about any part of Jerusalem. That’s for the two sides to decide, it’s not for the United States to decide.”

“All we said was Jerusalem as a whole.”

The contradiction in her statement was pointed out by some commenters online.

The manner in which Haley’s justification for Trump’s move is based on contradictions, finger-pointing and confusion is revealing.

It shows that, while the U.S. may claim to be backing up the peace process by transferring its embassy, that does not hold true. In reality, by taking this decision the Trump administration has declared itself unapologetically for Israel, simultaneusly killing prospects of a two state solution.


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