U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley unleashed a scathing denunciation of the Palestinian leadership at the Security Council on Thursday, giving Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a tongue-lashing that surpassed anything an American diplomat has said in recent memory.
Haley accused Abbas of lacking the will to make peace, and instead indulging in “hate-filled speeches and end-runs around negotiations [that] take us nowhere,” a reference to his Jan. 14 tirade against the U.S. and Israel at the Palestinian Central Council, and applications to various countries and international bodies for recognition and membership, instead of negotiating with Israel.
“A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace,” Haley said.
“In his speech, President Abbas declared the landmark Oslo Peace Accords dead. He rejected any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American President. He called for suspending recognition of Israel. He invoked an ugly and fictional past, reaching back to the 17th century to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers.”
Haley compared Abbas with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who went to Yerushalayim offering peace. Sadat said to the Israeli legislators, “You want to live with us in this part of the world. In all sincerity, I tell you, we welcome you among us, with full security and safety.”
“We used to reject you,” he said. “Yet today, I tell you, and declare it to the whole world, that we accept to live with you in permanent peace based on justice.”
Furthermore, “Sadat acknowledged that some Arab leaders did not agree with him. But he told them it was his responsibility to “exhaust all and every means in a bid to save my Egyptian Arab People and the entire Arab Nation, the horrors of new, shocking, and destructive wars.
“President Abbas also acknowledged criticism from other Arab leaders — and he, too, had a message for them. His response was “Get lost.”
“Where is the Palestinian Anwar Sadat? If President Abbas demonstrates he can be that type of leader, we would welcome it. His recent actions demonstrate the total opposite,” Haley stated.
Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour, who addressed the Security Council before Haley, described similar Israeli accusations that Abbas was “not a man of peace” as “appalling.”
“They are again attempting to distract the international community and evade responsibility for the political deadlock and deplorable situation on the ground by making such false, shameful claims,” he said.
However, for anyone doubting the veracity of her characterization of Abbas, the American ambassador urged them to read what he actually said at the PLO meeting:
“Curiously, President Abbas’ speech has gotten little attention in the media. I encourage anyone who cares about the cause of a durable and just peace in the Middle East to read President Abbas’ speech for yourself,” Haley said.
Earlier in the day, the Palestinians were fuming over U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks at Davos, in which he again threatened to withhold aid for their refusal to resume peace talks with the Israelis. He also said he’d taken Yerushalayim “off the table” with his recent recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.
Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat retorted that peace talks are “off the table” if Trump’s Yerushalayim policy isn’t rescinded.
“Jerusalem is not off the negotiations table; rather the U.S. is outside the international consensus. Those who say that Jerusalem is off the table are saying that peace is off the table,” said Erekat. “There will be no peace without East Jerusalem being the sovereign capital of the State of Palestine.”