War of words between US, Palestine leadership continues

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The war of words between the United States and Palestinian leadership continues to escalate after Washington’s envoy told the UN Security Council that they would not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley took aim at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after a speech he delivered in Ramallah on 14 January in which he said they would no longer accept the US as mediator in the peace process after their decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Abbas also described President Donald Trump and Ambassador Haley as a disgrace to any administration that respects itself.

It was a fiery speech in Ramallah by President Abbas earlier in January in which he rejected US mediation and called for future negotiations under an international collective. This was the United States’ response through Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Security Council.

“The United States remains deeply committed to helping the Israelis and Palestinians reach a historic peace agreement that brings a better future to both peoples, just as we did successfully with the Egyptians and the Jordanians. But we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what’s needed to achieve peace.  To get historic results, we need courageous leaders.”

She called the Abbas speech one that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories; one that is not the speech of a person with the courage and will to seek peace.

Her remarks followed those by President Trump in Davos where he said they would continue to withhold financial aid to the Palestinians unless they sit down to peace negotiations.

However the Palestinian envoy in New York warned that their aspirations cannot be quashed by threats and intimidation.

“Right now, the world is witnessing, in shocking detail, the dehumanization of the Palestinian people; their subjugation and deprivation; the attempts to erase their history; heritage and identity; and the systematic decimation of their communities; of generation after generation; and of their will and hope, with zero horizon for an end to this travesty. Our stand is thus neither a case of brinksmanship, nor posturing. This is about people’s lives, in this case an entire nation. It is a crisis unquestionably about our very existence in our homeland, our rights, including to self- determination and return, and our survival as a people,” says Ambassador Riyad Mansour.

Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon, whose remarks in the chamber focused entirely on Iran’s role in region, was asked why he completely ignored the Palestinian issue.

“I don’t think it’s helping the process that the Palestinians will blame us and we’ll blame them. I’m saying it directly; if the Palestinians want to move forward they should stop incitement and come back to the negotiating table. Coming to the Security Council blaming Israel for everything maybe it will create good headlines tomorrow in Ramallah, but it will not support the Palestinian or the Israelis.”

The UN continues to warn that developments on the ground will lead only to a hardening of positions shaped further by sharp rhetoric on both sides; elements that kill hope, breed frustration and increase radicalization.