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Nikki Haley in farewell talk: U.N. 'hopelessly biased' against Israel

By Allen Cone
Nikki Haley in farewell talk: U.N. 'hopelessly biased' against Israel
Nikki Haley speaks Tuesday for the last time at the U.N. Security Council in New York City. Image courtesy United Nations

Dec. 18 (UPI) -- In her final address to the Security Council Tuesday, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the world body is "hopelessly biased" against Israel.

Haley, who will leave the post in January, spoke during the council's meeting on the Middle East.

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"Over the past two years, I have attempted to provide more value in this monthly meeting by using my time to speak about other pressing problems in the Middle East," Haley said. "I've done it to illustrate that most of the region's problems have absolutely nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And I've done it to encourage the U.N. to move away from its obsession with Israel.

Haley broke from tradition to address the Israel-Palestinian issue. The General Assembly rejected a U.S.-led resolution two weeks ago that condemned terrorism by Hamas -- but it's passed more than 700 resolutions critical of Israel in recent years, she noted.

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"This U.N. obsession has been entirely unproductive," Haley said. "It's actually worse than that. The U.N.'s obsession with this issue has been counterproductive. It has sent a loud and false message to the Palestinians that they just might be able to achieve their goals by relying on the U.N., rather than through direct negotiations. And it has sent a loud and accurate message to the Israelis that they can never trust the U.N.

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"This biased obsession is not the path to peace. It is the path to an endless stalemate."

Haley mentioned Trump administration plans to unveil a Middle East peace plan early next year. Rather than being a few pages "containing unspecific and unimaginative guidelines," she said "thoughtful detail" will be included.

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"It brings new elements to the discussion, taking advantage of the new world of technology we now live in," she said. "It recognizes that realities on the ground in the Middle East have changed in powerful and important ways. This plan will be different from all previous ones -- the critical question is whether the response to it will be any different."

In her speech, she said Palestinians "would benefit more" and Israelis "would risk more" with a new peace agreement.

"Israel is a thriving, strong, prosperous country," Haley said. "It has always wanted peace with its neighbors. It has clearly demonstrated its willingness to make big sacrifices for peace, including giving up large areas of land. But Israel will not make a peace agreement at just any price, and it shouldn't. No U.N. resolutions, anti-Semitic boycotts or terrorist threats will ever change that."

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She said Israel has faced threats to its security, saying, "it would be foolish for it to make a deal that weakened its security. And yet, even in the face of constant threats, Israel has become one of the leading nations in the world. Israel wants a peace agreement, but it doesn't need one."

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Palestinians envision a two-state solution -- an independent Palestine alongside Israel, west of the Jordan River -- but Haley said Palestinian leadership is not working toward peace.

"The Palestinian people are suffering terribly while their leadership clings to 50-year-old demands that have only become less and less realistic," she said. "What awaits the Palestinian people with a peace agreement are the prospects of a massive improvement in the quality of their lives and far greater control over their political future."

Under Haley's leadership, the United States has withdrawn from the U.N. Human Rights Council -- which she called a "cesspool of political bias" -- and has cut funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency. In a change from 2017, the United States this year voted against an annual resolution condemning the "occupation" by Israel of the Golan Heights. Last year, it abstained.

President Donald Trump has nominated State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to succeed Haley.

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