Outgoing U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley slammed the U.N. as “hopelessly biased” against Israel on Tuesday in what is likely to be her last appearance at the Security Council — and teased the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.
Haley spoke at the Security Council’s meeting on the Middle East, where the Israel-Palestinian conflict has frequently been the main topic of discussion — a discussion often critical of Israel.
Haley, who leaves her post in January, has made a point of using her remarks to talk about other issues, particularly Iranian aggression in the region. But in her final address to the monthly meeting, she broke with that tradition and ripped into the body’s anti-Israel bias, mentioning in particular the General Assembly vote this month where the body failed to adopt a U.S. resolution condemning Hamas.
“The U.N. has shown itself to be hopelessly biased, as we witnessed again just two weeks ago when the General Assembly failed to even condemn Hamas’ terrorism against Israel,” she said.
Haley has made combating anti-Israel bias at the U.N. one of her priorities in her time at Turtle Bay. The U.S. withdrew from the U.N. Human Rights Council — which Haley called a “cesspool of political bias” — and has cut funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency. Last month the U.S. voted against an annual resolution condemning the “occupation” by Israel of the Golan Heights — a change from the U.S. decision to abstain in 2017. Haley said last month that, while being unable to condemn Hamas, the U.N. has passed more than 700 resolutions critical of Israel.
On Tuesday, she accused the U.N. of having an “obsession with Israel.”
“This U.N. obsession has been entirely unproductive. It’s actually worse than that. The U.N.’s obsession with this issue has been counterproductive. It has sent a loud and false message to the Palestinians that they might be able to achieve their goals by relying on the U.N., rather than through direct negotiations. And it has sent a loud and accurate message to the Israelis that they can never trust the U.N.” she said.
Haley also teased the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, a plan expected to be unveiled in early 2019. She said that she had read it, and that instead of containing “unspecific and unimaginative guidelines,” it is longer and more thoughtful.
“It brings new elements to the discussion, taking advantage of the new world of technology we now live in. It recognizes that realities on the ground in the Middle East have changed in powerful and important ways,” she said.
“This plan will be different from all previous ones — the critical question is whether the response to it will be any different.”
There were signs of potential opposition to the plan from the eight former, current and incoming E.U. countries on the Security Council, who warned ahead of the meeting against a plan that did not respect current “internationally agreed parameters based on international law, relevant U.N. resolutions, and previous agreements.”
“Any peace plan that fails to recognize these internationally agreed parameters would risk being condemned to failure,” the statement said.
In her remarks, Haley made the U.S. position clear, and said that it would be up to other countries to choose whether to focus on the parts of the plan they did not like, or move forward with negotiations.
She said that the U.S. would continue to offer a hand in friendship to the Palestinians — who she said the U.S. has financially supported “by far more than any other country has done” — but also expressed America’s “unshakeable bond” with Israel.
“…Whatever it is that others decide, the world must know that America will remain steadfast in our support for Israel, its people, and its security,” she said. “That is an unshakeable bond between our two peoples.”
President Trump will nominate State Department Spokeswoman and former Fox News host Heather Nauert to succeed Haley in 2019.