US Ambassador Haley Rips Arab, Islamic States for Posturing at UN on Palestinian Question
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, delivered a hard hitting speech to Tuesday’s meeting of the Security Council on the Middle East, questioning the fundamental commitment of Arab states to securing progress for the Palestinians.
Haley argued that if solidarity with the Palestinians was to be judged by the volume of words expended on the issue in the halls of the UN, “one would come away with an extremely distorted picture.”
“No group of countries is more generous with their words than the Palestinians’ Arab neighbors, and other OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) member states,” Haley told the Security Council. “But all of the words spoken here in New York do not feed, clothe, or educate a single Palestinian child. All they do is get the international community riled up.”
Haley then highlighted the record of financial support from Islamic countries — radical and conservative states alike — for the Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA.
In 2017, Haley said, “Iran’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Algeria’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Tunisia’s contribution to UNRWA was zero.”
Haley then turned to those countries who did contribute to UNRWA in 2017 — on a scale from Pakistan at $20,000, through Turkey at $6.7 million, up to the United Arab Emirates with a $12.8 million donation.
“Last year, while Algeria was providing nothing to UNRWA, and Turkey was providing $6.7 million, the United States gave $364 million,” Haley continued. “That’s ten times the combined amounts from every country I just named.”
She added: “And that’s on top of what the American people give annually to the Palestinians in bilateral assistance. That was another $300 million last year, and it averages to more than a quarter of a billion dollars every year since 1993.”
The alleged preference among Arab states for solidarity speeches rather than practical action on behalf of the Palestinians was not limited to the funding issue, Haley said.
“Where are the Arab countries when it comes to encouraging reconciliation between Palestinian factions, which is essential to peace?” she asked. “Where are the Arab countries when it comes to denouncing Hamas terrorism? Where are the Arab countries when it comes to supporting compromises that are necessary for peace?”
Claiming that the “Palestinian leadership has been allowed to live in a false reality for too long because Arab leaders are afraid to tell them the truth,” Haley asserted that the “United States is telling them the truth because we care about the Palestinian people.”
“It is time for the regional states in particular to step up and really help the Palestinian people, instead of just making speeches thousands of miles away,” she concluded.
Thursday’s meeting of the Security Council — the 8,316th convened under the heading “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” — also included contributions from Russia, China, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour accused Israel of legally enshrining racism through its recently-passed “nation-state” law, in a speech that carried strong echoes of the UN General Assembly deliberations in 1975 that led to the adoption of an infamous resolution — since rescinded — equating Zionism with racism.
Mansour charged Israel with having moved from “de facto” to “de jure apartheid” — a reference to the South African system of racial segregation during the 20th century that enabled the white minority of 10 percent to harshly rule over the black majority. For good measure, Mansour then invoked the American South, describing Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, as a “representative of the Jim Crow laws of Israel.”
In separate remarks to the council that largely concentrated on Hamas’s continued rule in Gaza, Danon stated that “too many people in this [UN] building have forgotten what Hamas truly is: a murderous terrorist organization that terrorizes Israel and holds Gazans hostage.”
Danon emphasized that “the time has come for the Security Council to recognize that Hamas is no different from al-Qaeda or ISIS. The Security Council must recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization.”