U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley strongly defended Israel Tuesday in the face of international criticism of its response to violent demonstrations at the Gaza border, saying no other country in the chamber would act with more restraint than the Jewish state.
Speaking the day after Israeli forces killed more than 50 Palestinians in Gaza, Haley castigated Hamas—the Islamist terrorist organization governing Gaza—for inciting violence. She also defended the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, calling it the right thing to do and a reflection of the will of the American people.
Recent Stories in National Security
Haley relayed media reports on Hamas maps and social media showing the quickest routes to reach Israeli communities if demonstrators breached the Gaza security fence, as well as urging crowds on loudspeakers to get closer to the fence.
She also noted the report on Hamas falsely claiming to their people that Israeli soldiers were abandoning places along the fence, when in fact they were reinforcing them.
"This is how determined they are to make the lives of the Palestinian people miserable," she said. "They light Molotov cocktails, attached to kites on fire, and attempt to fly them into Israel to cause as much destruction as possible."
Make no mistake, she said, "Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday."
"I ask my colleagues here in the Security Council, who among us would accept this type of activity on your border?" Haley asked. "No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has. In fact, the records of several countries here today suggest they would be much less restrained."
"Those who suggest that the Gaza violence has anything to do with the location of the American embassy are sorely mistaken," she added. "Rather, the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the state of Israel in any location."
Haley also said the council should be more focused on the destabilizing behavior of Iran, which launched rockets from Syria at Israel last week.
"In recent days, Hamas terrorists backed by Iran have incited attacks against Israeli security forces and infrastructure," Haley said. "That is violence that should occupy our attention too. The common thread in all of this is the [destabilizing] conduct of the Iranian regime, a regime that insists on promoting violence throughout the Middle East, while depriving its own people of basic human rights."
Haley said there should be discussions of Iran's presence in Syria, promotion of violence in Yemen, support for terrorism in Gaza and weapons buildup in Lebanon.
"However, in the minds of some, today's meeting was not called to discuss any of those examples of violence in the Middle East," she said. "Today's meeting was called to discuss the violence that some suggest was connected with yesterday's opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem. For some people, the embassy opening is said to be a reason to engage in violence. How is that justified?"
Haley noted President Donald Trump said the embassy's location had no bearing on resolving contested borders or Jerusalem's holy sites.
"It does not undermine the prospects for peace in any way, and yet, for some, this is supposedly a cause for violence," she said. "But let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy."
Haley has stood behind Israel throughout her tenure at the U.N. She vetoed a Security Council resolution rejecting the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and she blasted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for making comments detrimental to the peace process.
In response to one Palestinian official who said she should "shut up," Haley shot back in a speech in February at the U.N. that she "will not shut up," and she called the U.N. "grossly biased" against Israel.