US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will visit Israel from June 7-9 during which time she is expected to hold meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and observe UN operations in the region.At a recent press briefing, Haley said the trip will be centered around the issue of the UN Human Rights Council.Prior to her visit to Israel, Haley will make a stop in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 6, where she will be the first US Permanent Representative to the UN to address the Council. She also will deliver a speech at the Graduate Institute in Geneva in which she will lay out the US’s position on future involvement with the Human Rights Council.“Going to Geneva we’ll be talking to the Human Rights Council about what we think they do well, what we think is not productive and if there is some reform that can happen out of that,” she said.“Based off of that, because there’s [sic] so many issues that happen on the Human Rights Council with Israel, I’ll be going to Israel.”Haley added that the US has not yet made a decision regarding whether or not it will remain a member of the UNHRC.“Part of me going there really is to analyze the situation, which is kind of what we’ve looked up to, to talk with them and see if there’s any willingness to move, and then we’ll make a decision,” she told the press.A Foreign Ministry source who shared Haley’s Israel itinerary with The Jerusalem Post earlier this week said she will begin her visit in Jerusalem where she will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. Haley will also tour Israel’s Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem and the Jerusalem’s Old City.
She will then head north to a location overlooking the borders with Lebanon and Syria where she will receive security briefings from Israeli military officials.In addition, according to the latest information obtained by the Post, the visit could include a night of entertainment and meetings with heads of start-up companies in Tel Aviv.Haley will conclude her three-day visit with meetings in the Palestinian Authority.Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, who will accompany Haley, told the Post he is “honored to welcome a true friend of Israel” to the country.“Ambassador Haley has stood by Israel’s side for many years, and even more so since assuming her post at the UN,” he said. “This visit will provide an opportunity to present her with the beauty of our country as we discuss the shared challenges and opportunities facing the US and Israel.”Haley’s visit comes on the heels of US President Donald Trump’s historic visit to the Middle East. Trump spent a little more than a day in Israel in May as part of his maiden foreign tour as president.No welcome ceremony or speeches are planned at this time, but Haley is expected to receive a warm welcome in the country. She has gained much popularity here after giving her very first press briefing at the UN back in February in which she strongly denounced the Security Council’s bias against Israel and vowed that the US would no longer turn a blind eye to it.In April, as she presided over the council, Haley set new rules for the forum’s monthly Middle East debate and insisted that countries discuss issues such as Iran’s support for terrorism, the Syrian crisis, Hezbollah and Hamas instead of exclusively focusing on what she called “Israel bashing.”
Nikki Haley discusses US commitment to two-state solution on Feb. 16, 2017 (credit: REUTERS)