Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (R) meets with US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in New York.
(photo credit: TWITTER)
The new US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attempted to underscore the Trump administration's position on ties with Israel during a weekend meeting with Jerusalem's envoy to the UN, Danny Danon.
The top US diplomat took to Twitter on Saturday to hail the "great meeting" with Danon in New York to "discuss our strong relationship."
Haley also referred to the new Washington government's apparent shift from the strained ties between the Israeli government and the previous White House administration of Barack Obama.
"Never again will our allies question our support," she said, pointing at the US alliance with Israel.
Haley's meeting with Danon over the weekend came ahead of the first meeting between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled for February 15 in Washington. Trump is reportedly planning to discuss the peace process in his meeting with Netanyahu.
Although a frequent critic of Trump's during the election campaign and with little foreign policy and no US federal government experience, Haley accepted the offer of the post of ambassador to the UN in November.
At her Senate confirmation hearing, Haley, who formerly served as South Carolina’s governor, slammed the Obama administration for allowing “mistreatment” of Israel in the halls of an organization with a long record of disproportionately targeting the Jewish state.
She called a resolution that passed through the Security Council in December condemning Israel’s settlement enterprise – facilitated by a US abstention – “the ultimate low,” a “terrible mistake,” a “kick in the gut” and a message to the world that America’s commitments to its allies ring hollow.
Nikki Haley accepts nomination for US Envoy to the UN , Nov. 23, 2016
The resolution, numbered 2334, suggested that “being an ally of the United States doesn’t mean anything,” Haley told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I will not go to New York and abstain when the UN seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel,” Haley said. “I will never abstain when the United Nations takes any action that comes in direct conflict with the interests and values of the United States.”
Until last week, Trump had largely kept quiet on the Israeli-Palestinian issue
However, the White House warned Israel
on Thursday to cease settlement announcements that are “unilateral” and “undermining” of President Donald Trump’s effort to forge Middle East peace, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post
For the first time, the administration confirmed that Trump is committed to a comprehensive two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict negotiated between the parties.
The official told the Post
that the White House was not consulted on Israel’s unprecedented announcement of 5,500 new settlement housing units over the course of his first two weeks in office.
“As President Trump has made clear, he is very interested in reaching a deal that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is currently exploring the best means of making progress toward that goal,” the official said.
Until now, Israeli officials had not known what to make of Trump administration policy on the issue of settlements specifically and, more generally, on the challenge of Middle East peace: Under Trump’s leadership, reference to a two-state solution was removed from the Republican Party platform over the summer, and the president’s designated envoy to Israel has publicly supported the settlement enterprise.
Trump has, however, repeatedly called peace between Israel and the Palestinians the “ultimate deal” – one that he has tasked Jared Kushner, a top adviser and his son-in-law, with moderating.
The president has nominated David Friedman as ambassador to Israel, a religious Jew who has raised money for the settlements and supports moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump supported that idea during the election campaign, but it has been put on the back-burner in recent weeks.
Under Obama, the White House maintained a firm anti-settlements line, calling them illegitimate and an obstacle to peace. Most of the world considers settlements illegal under international law, a position Israel rejects.Michael Wilner and Reuters contributed to this report.
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