U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a sharp response to Palestinians leaders and its top negotiator Tuesday, saying she “will not shut up” after the official made derogatory comments about Haley last month.
Haley addressed the U.N. Security Council during a speech Tuesday, during which she responded to an earlier speech from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as comments made last month by Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator.
Erekat said Haley “needs to shut up and realize the Palestinian leadership is not the problem.”
“We welcome you as the leader of the Palestinian people here today,” Haley said of Abbas. “But I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.
“The Palestinian leadership has a choice to make between two different paths. There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people.”
Haley then reminded the Palestinians of the “path of negotiation and compromise,” which she said has proved to be successful for Egypt and Jordan.
“That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it,” she said.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. went on to criticize the body for “elevating the tensions and grievances” between the Israelis and Palestinians, and said the U.N. should focus on other issues facing the Middle East, such as the threat of the Islamic State and Hezbollah.
“These immense security and humanitarian challenges throughout the region should occupy more of our attention, rather than having us sit here, month after month, and use the most democratic country in the Middle East as a scapegoat for the region’s problems. But here we go again,” Haley said.
Haley also reiterated the Trump administration will move forward with its decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, despite opposition from the Palestinians.
“You don’t have to like that decision. You don’t have to praise it. You don’t even have to accept this,” she said. “But know this: That decision will not change.”
Abbas addressed the U.N. Security Council earlier Tuesday and called for an international Middle East peace conference to be held later this year. He did not remain in the chamber to listen to Haley’s speech.