Haley Says Israel Would Risk More Than Palestinians in Trump’s Mystery Peace Plan

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called on Arab nations to embrace President Donald Trump’s forthcoming peace plan, arguing the Palestinians have more to gain than the Israelis from a diplomatic breakthrough.

In one of her final Security Council appearances as UN envoy, Haley said Tuesday that she’s reviewed Jared Kushner’s peace plan and that it “is much longer” than a few pages and “contains much more thoughtful detail” than previous plans. She said the proposal recognizes “that realities on the ground in the Middle East have changed” in important ways.

But she offered few details, and her comments were preceded by a joint European statement standing by previous starting points for talks.

“It is time we faced a hard truth: Both sides would benefit greatly from a peace agreement, but the Palestinians would benefit more, and the Israelis would risk more,” Haley said. “Economic opportunity, health care, even electricity are all scarce in the Palestinian territories,” she said, adding that the Palestinian “leadership clings to fifty-year-old demands that have only become less and less realistic.”

Kushner Draft

As Trump prepares to present a grand Middle East peace plan that his son-in-law has spent almost two years developing, one key challenge for White House officials is to win some measure of public endorsement from the international community as well as Arab nations that could help induce the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate.

In their joint statement before the Security Council meeting, EU representatives said they are committed to a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. The Trump administration broke with previous peace efforts by declaring Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state, even though the eastern portion of the city is claimed by Palestinians as their future capital.

“We welcome the confirmation that the U.S. plan is ready and we look forward to receiving it and studying it in due course,” said U.K. Ambassador Karen Pierce. “We agree that Europe and the Arab states will have an important role in supporting any peace plan,” she said, adding the “aspirations of both parties” regarding Jerusalem must be fulfilled.

Without directly mentioning the U.S., Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative Vladimir Safronkov said that unilateral moves that ignore previous international understandings on the Israel-Palestinian issue are undermining, rather than advancing, peace talks.

Haley said her appearance Tuesday would be her last at the regular Security Council meetings to discuss Middle East peace. She announced in October plans to step down by year end, and Trump has said he’ll nominate State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert for the position.

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