The Latest: Envoy says US extends hand to Palestinians
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on the U.N. Security Council meeting on Mideast issues (all times local):
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley is offering “the outstretched hand of the United States to the Palestinian people in the cause of peace” — but she says the Trump administration will not change its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Haley spoke at the U.N. Security Council’s monthly meeting on the Middle East Tuesday shortly after an address by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who left immediately after speaking.
Nonetheless, she addressed him, saying the Palestinian leadership has a choice of two paths — “absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric and incitement to violence” which will only lead to hardship for the Palestinian people, or “negotiation and compromise” that holds the promise of peace.
Haley reiterated that “the United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership.”
She noted that top Trump Mideast negotiators — the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and special representative Jason Greenblatt — were sitting behind her “ready to talk.”
“But we will not chase after you,” Haley said. “The choice, Mr. president, is yours.”
Abbas has said the U.S. action on Jerusalem ruled out the Trump administration as the broker for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is giving the United Nations’ strong support to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stressing: “There is no Plan B.”
But he told the U.N. Security Council’s monthly Mideast meeting that “after decades of support, the global consensus for a two-state solution could be eroding.”
Guterres warned that “obstacles on the ground have the potential to create an irreversible one-state reality.”
Stressing the U.N.’s opposition to such a reality, he said: “It is simply impossible to square the circle of a one-state reality with the legitimate national, historic and democratic aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
Guterres told council members Tuesday that “this is a time for dialogue, for reconciliation, for reason.”
He also called conditions in Hamas-rule Gaza “dire” and mentioned the shortage of funds for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, caused by the U.S. suspension of $65 million in assistance.
The U.N. Mideast envoy is warning that if the window of opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians isn’t seized quickly, the conflict “will be engulfed in the whirlwind of religious radicalization that remains present in the region.”
Nickolay Mladenov told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that “the enemies of peace are growing more confident by the day” and believe “the political odds are tilting in their favor.”
Mladenov said that “as the peace process falters and the gulf between the two sides widens, Palestinians and Israelis continue to suffer the violent consequences on the ground.”
He also warned that without immediate steps to address the humanitarian crisis in Hamas-ruled Gaza and revive its economy, “we will face a total institutional and economic collapse in Gaza.” He stressed: “This is not an alarmist prediction — it is a fact.”
Mladenov urged the international community “not to give up on support for the moderate Palestinian leadership” and said Palestinian unity is crucial for a Palestinian state.
Israel’s U.N. ambassador is accusing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of refusing direct peace negotiations with Israel and is calling him “the problem” — not the solution.
Ambassador Danny Danon addressed the U.N. Security Council immediately after Abbas on Tuesday, but the Palestinian leader left the chamber as soon as he finished, and Danon accused him of “once again running away.”
He said Abbas has refused to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for 7 1/2 years “to negotiate peace,” and he told council members that instead, the Palestinian president has been coming to the U.N. “expecting you to deliver the results.”
Danon said: “It’s not going to work that way. The only way to move forward is to have direct negotiations between Israel and Palestinians.”
Abbas outlined the Palestinian vision for peace and told the council: “We are ready to begin negotiations immediately in order to achieve the freedom and independence of our people.”