UN Middle East envoy fears violence over Trump Jerusalem policy

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says Washington has credibility with both sides, despite Palestinian leader's claims to the contrary.

December 8, 2017 20:20
2 minute read.
United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks with Israel's Ambassador to the UN

United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks with Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon before the start of a UN Security Council meeting on Jerusalem and Palestine.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

UNITED NATIONS - United Nations Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned on Friday that there was a risk of violent escalation in response to United States President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"There is a serious risk today that we may see a chain of unilateral actions, which can only push us further away from achieving our shared goal of peace," Mladenov told the UN Security Council.

The Security Council meeting was requested by Britain, France, Sweden, Bolivia, Uruguay, Italy, Senegal and Egypt.

Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated, scores were hurt and at least one killed in clashes with Israeli troops on a "day of rage" on Friday against the US decision.

The United States still has credibility as a mediator with both Israel and the Palestinians, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Friday after President Donald Trump's decision earlier this week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

She said the United Nations has damaged rather than advanced the prospects for Middle East peace.

"The United States has credibility with both sides. Israel will never be, and should never be, bullied into an agreement by the United Nations, or by any collection of countries that have proven their disregard for Israel's security," Haley told the UN Security Council.

Speaking ahead of the special session of the Security Council convened to discuss US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon welcomed the American decision.

“President Trump’s declaration marks a milestone – for Israel, for peace and for the world,” Ambassador Danon said. “The announcement on Wednesday revealed a sad truth about some people around the world. The people who threaten to ignite a wave of violence,” he continued.

Ambassador Danon went on to say that “This announcement should serve as a reality check for the Palestinians. They can choose violence as they have always done, or they can choose to join us at the negotiating table. The Security Council must send a clear message that there is never an excuse for violence. Violence must never be used as a threat.”

“The nations of the world must understand, that there will never be peace without Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel,” Ambassador Danon concluded. “That is why today, I call on all countries to join with our American friends, recognize Jerusalem as our capital and move their embassies as well.”

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told Al Jazeera TV on Friday that the Palestinians will not talk to the United States until President Donald Trump has reversed his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the channel reported.

Erekat also said the Palestinian leadership was considering all options in response to Trump's announcement, the channel reported in a newsflash, without giving further details.

The United States cannot broker the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday, in response to President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"We reject the American decision over Jerusalem. With this position the United States has become no longer qualified to sponsor the peace process,” Abbas said in a statement. He did not elaborate further.

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