Haley Blasts Palestinian President's 'Outrageous' Speech: Abbas Lacks 'Courage and the Will to Seek Peace'

January 25, 2018

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted the divisive rhetoric of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, saying his recent inflammatory remarks about the U.S. and Israel were demonstrative of someone who lacked "the courage and the will to seek peace."

Haley spoke before the U.N. about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about what she viewed as a required asset for leaders who could end it.

"Real peace requires leaders who are willing to step forward, acknowledge hard truths and make compromises. It requires leaders who look to the future rather than dwell on past resentments," she said. "Above all, such leaders require courage."

Haley cited Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and his pursuit of peace with Israel in the 1970s, praising his "courageous" decision to speak directly with the Jewish state and not do so "on bended knee."

Haley contrasted Sadat's language toward Israel with that of Abbas on Jan. 14 to the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Abbas, infuriated with the Trump administration's recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, had already called on countries to reject their recognition of Israel, and his speech to the PLO continued in that vein.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Abbas declared the Oslo peace accords dead, slammed Trump's Middle East peace plan as a "slap in the face" to which Palestinians "will slap back," called the U.S. ambassador to Israel "an offensive human being," implicitly threatened Haley, and used a popular Arabic curse against Trump: "May your house come to ruin!"

Abbas also said, "Israel has imported frightening amounts of drugs in order to destroy our younger generation," and he outlined his belief in a multi-century conspiracy between Europeans, the British, the Americans, and Jews to steal Palestinian land.

"[Abbas] invoked an ugly and fictional past reaching back to the 17th century to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers," Haley said.

Haley said Abbas' speech had "curiously" garnered 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. 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.

Haley reaffirmed a U.S. commitment to a two-state solution if the parties agreed, and she repeated the administration's contention that it had done nothing to prejudge the Jerusalem borders.

"Hate-filled speeches and end runs around negotiations take us nowhere. Ultimately, peace will not be achieved without leaders with courage," she said.

Haley said the U.S. would not "chase after a Palestinian leadership" that lack the qualities needed to end the conflict.

"If President Abbas demonstrates he can be that leader, we would welcome it," Haley said. "His recent actions demonstrate the total opposite."