The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has suggested that the White House will not consider a crucial Palestinian claim in an upcoming peace agreement with Israel.
Appearing for the pro-Israel Defense Foundation On Tuesday, the Democracies think tank said Haley said the White House wanted to "table" a discussion on the "right of return of Palestinian refugees" to their ancestral lands in Israel. reported the Times of Israel ] The subject is one of the most difficult in Palestinian-Israeli relations. After the founding of Israel in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians fled their homes and became refugees in neighboring countries or the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. [1
The Palestinians are still demanding recognition of their right to return to these countries, claiming that there are now 5 million people scattered across the globe. If that were allowed, demographic change in Israel would threaten the Jewish majority in the country. Therefore, it is considered by the leaders of Israel as an unacceptable existential challenge.
"I absolutely think we have to respect the right of return," Haley said. Asked if the law should be "off the table", the ambassador responded: "I agree, and I think we have to look at what's happening in Syria [with refugees] what's happening in Venezuela."
Haley works on Trump's long-awaited peace agreement with David Friedman, Ambassador to Israel; Jared Kushner, adviser to the White House and Trump's son-in-law; and Jason Greenblatt, White House Special Representative for International Negotiations.
The team is preparing to unveil the proposal but has not yet set a timetable for its release. At the beginning of this month, Greenblatt warned that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians would be completely satisfied with the blueprint, suggesting that a compromise from both sides is the only way to a lasting peace.
So far, however, the White House has unconditionally supported the Israeli government, while relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) are deteriorating. In fact, PA President Mahmoud Abbas is boycotting talks with the US based on Trump's obvious bias against Israel.
Trump's decision to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem met with fierce opposition from the entire Muslim world. When the embassy was opened in May, 168 Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers at the Gaza border fence in the midst of mass protests. Even then, leading US officials – including Haley, Greenblatt, Kushner, and Friedman – blamed the Palestinians for the bloodshed and refused to condemn Israel's actions.
In this climate, few expect that a peace proposal will be truly balanced. Anonymous sources indicate that Kushner, the main drive of the agreement, will rely heavily on financial incentives to attract the Palestinians and offer much-needed investment to Gaza and the West Bank. 19659002] There is speculation that Kushner will offer a "Take it or Leave It" deal. With the emergence of a new American-Saudi-Saudi-Egyptian alliance against the growing Iranian influence, the White House believes that the PA no longer has international or national support to demand significant concessions.
Washington has been uncompromising in its approach to the Palestinians, even cutting aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is responsible for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Haley argued that there was "an endless number of refugees who continue to receive support" and said the US would not restore funding unless substantial changes to the UNRWA operation were made.
When US Palestinian Relations Broke Down Trump's Embassy Announcement in January The government said it would retain UNRWA contributions for $ 65 million in 2018. Last week, the White House said it would freeze another $ 200 million in contributions.
Foreign Policy announced on Tuesday that Trump has now decided to completely cancel the agency's funding. Since the US has contributed a quarter of the Agency's budget so far, this could trigger a collapse of humanitarian services in already impoverished refugee communities.
"We will be a giver if [UNRWA] reforms what it does," Haley suggested, "If they actually change the number of refugees to an exact account, we will look back on a partnership."
The government is expected to withhold funding until the agency reduces the number of Palestinians it refers to as refugees. Haley also complained that "the Palestinians continue to beat America" while "shaking hands with them to seek UNRWA money."