In her final address to the UN Security Council this month, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley previewed the benefits of the Middle East peace proposal the Trump administration will soon unveil.
“It is time we faced a hard truth,” she said. “Both sides would benefit greatly from a peace agreement, but the Palestinians would benefit more, and the Israelis would risk more.”
Throughout her two-year tenure, Haley said, she has worked to “illustrate that most of the region’s problems have absolutely nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
As with all negotiations, Haley warned that not everyone will get everything they want if they accept the U.S. proposal. She urged both sides to set aside 50-year-old demands and increasingly unrealistic talking points in favor of an honest discussion about the powder keg the Middle East has become.
She noted that both sides want peace, that Israel has thrived despite being surrounded by threats to her security, and that “the Palestinian people are suffering terribly.”
“What awaits the Palestinian people with a peace agreement is the prospect of a massive improvement in the quality of their lives and far greater control over their political future,” Haley said.
What the Palestinians Would Gain
In her brief preview of the Trump administration’s proposal, Haley outlined these benefits to the plan:
- It differs from previous attempts at peace because it contains more details about and solutions to the real issues Palestinians endure today including scarce economic opportunity, health care and electricity, along with the harsh rule of Iran-backed terrorists in much of the Palestinian territories.
- It embraces technologies that didn’t exist 50 years ago but could greatly enhance the lives of Palestinian children and their parents today. “Things can be done today that were previously unthinkable,” she said.
- It recognizes that Palestinian demands of 50 years ago are unrealistic today in a Middle East that has changed in “powerful and important ways.” Among those changes are the rise of Iran and its jihadist proxies who now have smart weapons; the Arab Spring replacing secular dictators with radical Islamists willing to make their people pay any price to eliminate Israel; and the waning U.S. reliance on the area’s products.
Haley concluded by appealing to not only Israelis and Palestinians but also to the rest of the world to avoid taking the easy way of rejecting the plan because it lacks some of the things they want. She urged Arabs, Europeans and others to “focus on the parts of the plan that youdo like and encourage negotiations to move forward.
CBS News reported that Haley’s comments followed a sobering assessment of the Middle East by Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N.'s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
“The U.N. envoy gave a grim picture of what he called a ‘dangerous escalation’ in terrorist attacks and an ‘alarming rise’ in incidents that have led to deaths of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians,” Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk wrote. She added that the “risk of an explosion in violence in the West Bank has grown.”
After Haley’s speech, Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi immediately took the floor and repeated the same talking points that have stymied previous peace discussions. Before the meeting even started, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden issued a joint statement echoing those arguments.
Still, Sweden's Ambassador Olof B. Skoog conceded that “hopes are evaporating, with no peace process in sight.” Many around the world have pinned their hopes for peace on the two-state solution, Skoog said, adding, “The two-state solution is rapidly moving beyond our reach.”
Israel's Ambassador Danny Danon told reporters last month that the Trump administration is working to bring the Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia into the negotiating team now comprising the U.S., the EU, Russia and the U.N.
Please pray with us that this new, detailed plan will defuse the powder keg waiting to explode in the Middle East. Pray also that world leaders will open their eyes to new realities that negate their 50-year-old demands.