Outgoing United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley commented on Washington’s yet-to-be-announced plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, saying “it is much longer” and takes advantage of new technology.
Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, Haley gave no tangible details of what has been dubbed by US President Donald Trump as the “deal of the century”.
“It is much longer. It contains much more thoughtful detail,” Haley told the council which she said she has read. “It recognises that realities on the ground in the Middle East have changed in powerful and important ways.”
She added the document has a lot both sides will like and things they will not like.
“The Palestinians have everything to gain by engaging in peace negotiations,” Haley said. “This plan will be different from all previous ones. The critical question is whether the response to it will be any different.”
The plan, spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and US envoy Jason Greenblatt, was meant to revive the stalled and dormant peace process between Israel and Palestinian leaders, with the status of Jerusalem and the ongoing expansion of the illegal settlement project in occupied Palestine being the main sticking points and obstacles to reaching a final agreement.
Haley said Israelis and Palestinians as well as countries around the world have a choice: focus on the parts they dislike, which she said means returning “to the failed status quo of the last 50 years,” or focus on parts they like and encourage peace negotiations to move forward.
She said moving forward to negotiations and peace “will need leaders with real vision to do it.
But Palestinian leaders have refused to participate in the US-led effort since December 2017, when the Trump administration turned its back on decades of US policy by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
In response, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, told reporters the plan was “dead on arrival”.
“She [Haley] refused to listen to these positions that she heard for the last two years and she left without listening to them insisting that the replacement of the global consensus with something that is so vague which we don’t know will succeed,” Mansour said.
“She is wrong. It will not succeed. The only thing that has a chance of success is to implement the global consensus.”
Immediately before the meeting, eight European Union (EU) members stood outside the UNSC chamber and read a joint statement emphasising the EU’s “strong and continued commitment” to the internationally agreed requirements for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
“The EU is truly convinced that the achievement of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, that meets Israeli and Palestinian security needs, and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation and resolves all final status issues … is the only viable and realistic way to end the conflict and achieve just and lasting peace,” the statement said.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said late last month that US officials have told Israel’s government they expects to release the long-awaited plan in the beginning of 2019.
The UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov told the council he “remains concerned by the weakening of international consensus and the absence of collective efforts to achieve an end to the [Israeli] occupation and the realisation of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
“At the end of 2018, we are nowhere closer to reviving efforts for a negotiated solution,” he said. “Without a political horizon, all our collective and individual efforts merely contribute to managing the conflict rather than resolving it.”
Mladenov also reported to the council on Israel’s compliance with a December 2016 resolution that condemned Israeli illegal settlements, and said Israel has taken “no steps” to comply with the resolution and has continued expanding settlements and constructing new ones.
Over the past year, he said that “although Gaza has been the most volatile, the risk of an explosion in the West Bank has also grown.”