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Nikki Haley: ‘Israel should not be worried about deal of the century’

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, speaks during a UN Security Council meeting on 7 September, 2018 [Atılgan Özdil/Anadolu Agency]

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has said that Israel “should not be worried” about the upcoming “deal of the century”, as it does not demand anything in return for the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Haley was yesterday interviewed by editor-in-chief of Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, Boaz Bismuth, in New York. Bismuth asked Haley whether Israelis should be worried that the “deal of the century” – the long-awaited “peace” plan spearheaded by senior advisors to US President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt – will demand concessions in return for the administration’s moves on Jerusalem and Golan.

President Trump previously claimed Israel would have to pay a “high price” for the administration’s moves on Jerusalem, which saw the US relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last May.

The former UN ambassador yesterday appeared to contradict Trump’s claims, telling Bismuth that “Israel should not be worried. Because through the Middle East plan [deal of the century], one of the main goals that Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt focused on was to not hurt the national security interests of Israel”.

Jason Greenblatt (L), Jared Kushner (2L) Nikki Haley (2R) [Jason D. Greenblatt/Twitter]

Jason Greenblatt (L), Jared Kushner (2L), Nikki Haley (2R) and Haim Saban [Jason D. Greenblatt/Twitter]

“Everybody should want to make way for a better situation in Israel,” Haley continued, “and I think it can happen. So rather than pushing back against what we don’t know, I hope everybody [will] lean in on the possibilities of what the peace plan could look like.”

Haley however claimed that “it’s not going to be easy [to implement the plan]. Both sides won’t love it. And both sides won’t hate it. But both sides have to want peace. And if they do, they will be deciding the details. Not the US.”

Haley went on to criticise the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its rejection of the deal and decision to boycott the “Peace and Prosperity” conference, which will unveil the economic elements of the plan later this month in Bahraini capital Manama. “At this point, it is hard to see an opportunity in which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is even going to come to the table,” she claimed, adding: “I think that […] it shows Abbas’ true colours.”

READ: Erekat calls for carrying out elections to face deal of the century

The PA has flatly rejected the “deal of the century” on the grounds that it ignores demands for a Palestinian state on 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the plight of some five million refugees who have been denied the right of return since the Nakba of 1948.

The deal is also expected to declare Israel’s illegal West Bank settlement blocs part of Israel, maintain Israel’s occupation of the Jordan Valley and offer Abu Dis – a district of Jerusalem cut off from the rest of the Holy City by Israel’s Separation Wall – as the future Palestinian capital.

The PA has also called on Arab states to boycott the conference. Thus far Jordan, Egypt and Morocco have yet to confirm their attendance in Manama, while Lebanon has announced it will boycott the conference. However the Gulf states – including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia – have said they will attend, in a move which has been seen as further evidence of their increasingly-normalised relations with Israel.

READ: Saudi Arabia offers Abbas $10bn to accept US peace plan

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