US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has touted the much-hyped but yet unreleased US peace plan for the Middle East as a boon for Palestine – despite that they have already rejected the plan, calling it the “slap of the century.”
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At her last UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, the outgoing US envoy heaped praise on the Trump Administration’s peace plan which aims to make a breakthrough in the stalled peace process in the region.
Both sides would benefit greatly from a peace agreement, but the Palestinians would benefit more, and the Israelis would risk more.
“I assure you there is a lot for both sides to like,” Haley said, noting that it’s up to Israel and Palestine to tease out the details.
The plan, according to Haley, is “not just a few pages, containing unspecific and unimaginative guidelines,” but a comprehensive roadmap, with “much more thoughtful detail” and “taking advantage of the new world of technology.”
Haley, who has styled herself as one of the most vocal advocates of Israel in the Trump administration, highlighted the “unshakable bond” between the US and Israel, a position that was cemented during her tenure when the US outraged Muslims in Palestine and beyond by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, slashed aid to Palestine by some $ 500 million and quit the UN Human Rights Council over its “bias” against Israel.
While Haley once called the UN General Assembly “morally bankrupt” for approving a resolution that condemned Israel’s use of “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as she bid farewell to the UNSC, she nonetheless argued that she has never harbored prejudice against Palestine.
“Given my record, some might mistakenly conclude that I am unsympathetic to the Palestinian people. Nothing could be further from the truth,” she said. Switching gears from reconciliatory to condescending, Haley then stated that “Israel wants a peace agreement but it does not need one,” adding that Palestinians must give up on their “50-year-old demands that have only become less and less realistic.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas insists that Ramallah will not accept any peace plan that is not based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which clearly states that the future Palestinian state will be established in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, with East Jerusalem as the capital.
Abbas has repeatedly decried the US-sponsored “deal of the century,” saying in October that Palestine and Jerusalem are “not for sale or bargaining.”
It’s unclear yet what exactly is in the proposal that has been drafted by US President Donald Trump’s special adviser Jared Kushner and his Middle Eastern envoy Jason Greenblatt, which is expected to be unveiled in early January.
However, neither the Palestinian nor the Israeli side have been enthusiastic about the proposal that could have become the crowning achievement of Haley’s brief ambassadorial career.
Speaking at a conference in November, the Israeli Minister of Justice called the long-awaited plan “a waste of time.”
The Palestinian administration, which has fiercely opposed the plan from the beginning, recently lashed out at it, calling it a “lie” and the “slap of the century.” Mahmoud Al-Habbash, a senior adviser to the PA president, hinted last month that Abbas had been offered a huge paycheck to abandon Jerusalem – something he has vehemently refused to do.
“President Abbas told them: All the billions of dollars in the world will not make me give up one inch of the soil of Jerusalem,” Al-Habbash said. He noted that the plan has yet to win support from the Arab world, despite Washington’s assurances that they are on board.
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