Nikki Haley calls for examination on Palestinian right of return

The UN ambassador said the region must push the Palestinians to the negotiating table.

By
August 29, 2018 01:50
2 minute read.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at UN headquarters in New York

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at UN headquarters in New York. (photo credit: LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations questioned on Tuesday the credibility of Palestinian claims to a “right of return” to lands in modern-day Israel, touching on one of the most sensitive topics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Accepting an honor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Nikki Haley was repeatedly asked by Clifford May, the organization’s president, to comment on reports that the administration will soon target the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, a body which treats the descendants of refugees from 1940s Mandate Palestine as refugees themselves, by cutting the rest of its funding to the body and challenging its qualifications for refugee status.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.
Gaza tensions rise following UN funding cut to Palestinian refugee program UNRWA, July 30, 2018 (Reuters)

The Trump administration has already cut much of its funding to UNRWA, and Haley’s response suggests a complete cut is in the offing.

“You’re looking at the fact that, yes, there’s an endless number of refugees that continue to get assistance,” she said. But she said the issue was “bigger” than that. “The Palestinians continue to bash America,” she said, while “they have their hand out wanting UNRWA money.”

“UNRWA can stay there, and we can be a donor if they reform,” Haley continued, declining to endorse a proposal to wrap UNRWA – a refugee body devoted exclusively to the Palestinian cause – into the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR. “We will look back at partnering them.”

She called on specific countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, among others – to contribute to UNRWA, noting that the US remains its primary benefactor.

“I absolutely think we have to look at right of return,” she added.

Trump administration officials have declined to comment or push back against reports that they will soon roll out their position on a “right of return,” long criticized by the Israeli government as an attempt by Palestinians to undermine the Jewish nature of the state.

The US has long supported a two-state solution that results in “two states for two peoples” – one Jewish state of Israel, and one Arab state of Palestine. The Trump administration has been working on a plan for peace talks but has not yet endorsed the two-state solution outright.

The Palestinian Authority cut off contact with the White House after it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year, and moved the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv in May.

Haley said the PA would need to reengage for there to be serious peace talks – and that the White House would need the help of regional allies to get the Palestinians there.

“We have to have them come to the table for a peace agreement,” she said, and “that’s only going to happen if the region pushes them for that to happen.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is seen in Jerusalem District Court
September 22, 2018
Report: Former PM Olmert met with PA President Abbas in Paris

By HAGAY HACOHEN