US President Donald Trump’s peace plan doesn’t compromise Israel’s security, former US ambassador Nikki Haley said on Thursday night as she spoke at the Israel Hayom forum.
She spoke just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israeli retention of the Jordan Valley, located between Jerusalem and the country of Jordan, is vital for Israel’s security. Haley ducked a question about whether Israel should apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.
“I think we should see how the peace plan plays out,” Haley said. “I think we should give this a chance.”
She differentiated between Jerusalem and the West Bank, explaining that the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was simply stating a fact.
Haley said that she has seen the Trump peace plan and she urged the Palestinians to accept it.
“If their own leaders do not want them to have more, they will never get it,” Haley said. The Bahrain conference was successful and showed a different approach, she said. “The Palestinians may not want to come to the table, but if their neighbors do, then it is a totally different ballgame.”
With regard to Syria, Haley said the US does not support the return of the Golan Heights to Syria.
In reminiscing about her time at the UN in New York, Haley said that her first Security Council meeting on the Middle East helped impress upon her the problem Israel faces at the UN.
“When I sat in that first session and heard ambassador after ambassador bashed Israel, just because they always had,” Haley said. “It was disgusting. That is when we said, we are not going to allow this to happen anymore, there are too many issues in the Middle East we need to talk about. Over time, you saw other ambassadors start to do that.”
But behind closed doors, many of the 193 countries respect the strength and intelligence of Israel.
“We allowed them to stand up for the first time and not be alone,” she said.
About her support of Israel at the UN generally, she said, “The truth needed to be said. It needed to be said clearly and without an apology. The truth is always worth it.” In reference to Israeli-US ties, Haley said that “a strong Israel makes a strong America. So we need everyone to acknowledge the value of Israel.”
She accused the United Nation Relief and Works Agency that services Palestinian refugees of crying wolf when it said it was in a financial crisis, stating that this was a “fund raising tactic.”
Regarding Iran, Haley iterated that “Iran is the number one threat we are facing now.” The Obama administration failed with Iran, which became more powerful under its watch. “The president [Donald Trump] was right to get out of the Iran deal,” she said, adding, “we are seeing a panicked Iran.”
Defunding Iran slowed down the nuclear process but did not stop the culture of hate. “They are still saying death to American, death to Israel,” she said. “As long as they are doing that we must have strong messages, and let them know that one thing that goes out of line, we will respond and respond harshly.”
She refused to say if she would run for the US presidency in 2024, noting that “it is a long ways away.” But she promised, “I will continue to be loud and proud about all the things that are important. I will never stop fighting for what the US believes in. I will never stop fighting for Israel and I will never stop fighting for the bond that we have together.”
“We are blessed to have Israel in the Middle East,” she said. “You can’t destroy what God has blessed.”