US Envoy Haley Says Fate of 'Deal of Century' in Hands of Abbas

Published September 6th, 2018 - 02:03 GMT
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks during UN Security Council meeting. (AFP/ File)
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks during UN Security Council meeting. (AFP/ File)

The fate of the United State’s peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the hands of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, US Ambassador to the United Nations told reporters in New York.

When quizzed by a reporter if the "deal of the century" was possible, Haley immediately responded: “Only if Abbas comes to the table.”

She added, “We have ensured that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu will come to the table. Abbas for the good of the people needs to come to the table.”

She spoke with reporters in New York on Tuesday, during an extensive press briefing in which she outlined her country’s program of work for September when it holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council.

Speculation has been high that the US could unveil its peace plan, which Trump has referred to as "the deal of the century," at the UN in New York. 

Haley said that the peace plan is getting close but won’t be unveiled during the 73rd opening session of the United Nations General Assembly later this month.

She added that she had read the very detailed proposal which was put together by US envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt who have engaged with many world leader in the process of its preparation.

“It is thoroughly done. It is well thought out from both sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis. It takes into account every aspect of everything,” Haley said. 

It’s expected that neither the Israelis or the Palestinians will like the plan, but “both sides have to be willing to hear” the plan, she said. 

“If they are both willing to hear it, I think that this could be a solution for the region. It could be a solution for both Palestinians and Israelis. I think it would be a solution and a testament to what can happen when two sides come together in the name of helping their people,” Haley added.

“The Palestinian people should be frustrated with Abbas and the fact that he is not stepping up, he is not dealing with Hamas, he is not doing things to better the Palestinian people,” Haley said. 

She called on the international community and the Palestinians to put pressure on Abbas and say, “It is time. It is time for a better life for Palestinians and only he can deliver that.”

“Every Palestinian deserves a better life. Every Palestinian should look at the Palestinian Authority and say what are you doing to help us,” Haley said.

In response to a question about possible US support for a confederation between the Palestinian territories and Jordan, Haley said, “In terms of the details of the [US peace] plan I can tell you that that there are a lot of false statement out there about the plan.”

She also responded to questions about the US decision at the end of August to halt its funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which provides humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees. This followed a US decision to cut $200 million from its bilateral assistance to the PA under the Economic Support Fund.

Haley said that the UNRWA was a political organization that had a growing unsustainable population of refugees.

Haley said that the US gave $60 million to UNRWA at the beginning of the year but received no acknowledgment for its efforts.

“UNRWA didn’t say 'thank you,’ they criticized us and attacked us for not giving more. There is no one who has given more money to the Palestinians than the US.”

The US had a strong history of funding the UNRWA and the Palestinians to the tune of $6 billion over time, while the international community, particularly the Arab countries have done very little. 

“If the other members in the region don’t feel this is worth the investment, why should the US feel that it is worth the investment. At some point the region has to step up and say that they care about the Palestinians,” Haley stated.

“Don’t blame the US for a faulty political organization that I do not think is doing justice to the Palestinian community,” Haley said.

The PA, not the UNRWA, should be taking care of the Palestinians, Haley said, adding that her country preferred to work directly with the PA and Jordan to help the Palestinians rather than with the UNRWA.

The international community should go “to the Arab countries in the region and ask, where are you, why are you not doing anything to help the Palestinians in the region.”

Haley chastised the international community for its attacks on Israel.

“Beating up on Israel, to me, is something that I think some countries find easy to do, something that some countries take satisfaction in,” Haley said.

“It has been easy to point fingers at Israel and point fingers at the US. But where is everyone? Where are they when it comes to helping the Palestinian people? We are waiting for them to step up and I think the time has come.”


This article has been adapted from its original source.

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