US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the Trump administration did not view the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a gift to the Israelis, and would not seek concessions in exchange for the move.
Speaking with Fox News Wednesday night after President Trump announced that the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, and ordered the State Department to being planning the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Haley rejected the idea that the US would use the moves to extract concessions from Israel.
When asked whether the US had pressured Israel to soften its position in exchange for the recognition of Jerusalem, Haley replied “Absolutely not.”
“This is following members of Congress, this is doing what the American people said. But we are also taking Jerusalem out of the discussion, because the two sides have to come together on how they’re going to see Jerusalem, what they’re going to see as their capital.”
While the president stated that the US now recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a manifest fact, he said, the US would not rule on the boundaries of Israel’s capital city, and would leave the delineation of Jerusalem’s borders to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to decide in a final status agreement.
“We are not doing anything about the final status. That is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
“This was not a decision made with the Israelis. This was a decision by the president for the American people. So it was a decision that we all said that Jerusalem should be the capital and the embassy should be there. This decision should not weigh in on the peace process. The peace process on how they see Jerusalem, if they choose to divide it up, all those things, that’s between the two sides.”
According to Haley, while previous presidents had been pressured into signing waivers delaying implementation of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv by 1999, with warnings that any ill-timed move could derail the peace process, 22 years later, it was apparent that there was no peace process to negatively impact.
“President after president kept being told ‘don’t do it, don’t do it, you’ll mess up the peace process’. Well, 22 years later we haven’t had a peace process. What the president did today was, one, listen to the will of the American people. They just unanimously six months ago, Republicans and Democrats, to do this. So he listened to the American people.”