'The stronger we make Israel, the safer we make the world'

Former Ambassador Nikki Haley discusses US diplomatic efforts in the Middle East.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley
Esti Dezibov/TPS

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley discussed the US diplomatic efforts in the Middle East at the Israel Hayom Forum for US-Israel Relations held in Jerusalem on Thursday evening.

Interviewed by Dr. Miriam Adelson, Haley said that her approach as UN ambassador of “kicking” anyone she saw doing the wrong thing “was the only approach we could use.”

“You had a situation where there was this organization of 193 countries that were anti-American and anti-Israel, continuing to give us a hard time, but had their hand out for aid. I didn't want to just be another ambassador. I felt the American people deserved that,” said Haley, who added that she would not do anything differently because “the truth needed to be said, without any apology.”

Addressing the US-led conference in Bahrain this week which the Palestinian Authority boycotted, the former ambassador said, “Working toward peace is never a waste of time. We should all want peace, should all want a peace plan to be successful.”

She noted that she has seen the US peace plan which she described as “well thought out, detailed, doable. It does things that would improve the lives of the Palestinians, but would not compromise the security of Israel.”

“The Trump administration has been courageous. We're not going to beg the Palestinians to come to the peace table, but it says a lot about the PA that they wouldn't want better for their own people. The Palestinians deserve better. I think the Arab community will see over time that they can't continue to babysit the Palestinians,” added Haley.

Asked what Israel should do if the Palestinians insist on rejecting the peace deal, Haley replied, “I think we should see how the peace plan plays out. We should be open minded. Jerusalem was stating a fact, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, no matter what Arab countries were telling their citizens, it's the truth. The Trump administration said, we have all our embassies in capitals. Jerusalem is capital, why would we not have our embassy there?”

“Now we have to see where the Palestinians are, this is a moment of truth for them. Do they want to continue living they way they are living, or see what opportunity could look like?”

Israel is mistreated and singled out at the UN, argued Haley, because “Arab countries realized after 1967 that they'd never defeat Israel. They did all they could, which was to go after Israel in the UN. Because of their wealth, the oil, they went to all the little countries and said, you need to vote with us.”

“Behind closed doors, a lot of those ambassadors respect Israel. There are so many that respect the strength and intelligence of Israel. We allowed them to stand up and not be alone,” she added.

“We call them out every time. The truth is always worth fighting for. Israel is the one bright spot in a really rough neighborhood. The better and stronger we make Israel, the safer we make the world.”

As for the issue of so-called “Palestinian refugees”, Dr. Adelson asked Haley what is the true number of Palestinian refugees, as far as the United States is concerned?

“The number of actual Palestinian refugees is classified. There are multiple people working to get it unclassified. I think we should, because it speaks to the truth of that scenario,” replied Haley.

“I looked into UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees. I wanted to find out what they did. What I found was an agency that didn't want to be told what to do. The way they count refugees is to say any Palestinian anywhere in the world is a refugee. They want to give it [refugee status] for generations going forward. The US has given the Palestinians $6 billion. We've done our part. But when we went to UNRWA and said, you should reform, they refuse,” she continued, referring to the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”.

“When they wouldn't make the reforms we demanded, the president was courageous to say we wouldn't give any more. Why should we be more responsible for the Palestinians than the Arab world?”

On Iran, Haley stressed, “We don't want war. The president doesn't want war. Iran is the No. 1 threat we are facing. The Obama administration did not help. They went in thinking they could bring peace, but all they did after bringing in a planeful of money was spread war. Look at Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan. Iran's tentacles started going everywhere. The deal didn't work. The president was right to pull out - the Iranians were still testing ballistic missiles, still selling weapons, still supporting terrorism, and we were giving them money to do it. Defunding them slowed down the nuclear process, but it did not slow down their culture of hate. They're still saying 'Death to Israel,' 'Death to America.'"

Asked by Adelson whether there is a difference between what country representatives say and do publicly, and what they said to her privately, behind the scenes, Haley replied, “A couple of things. When the president issued the strikes on Syria following the chemical weapons attacks, ambassadors reached out and said, ‘It's so good to see the US lead again.’”

“I think we're starting to see a shift, that countries are realizing we are blessed to have Israel in the Middle East, and even the Arab countries are starting to realize that. You can't destroy what God has blessed, and Israel is blessed,” she added.

One of her proudest moment, said Haley, was when she vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution that would have condemned America for moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

“It was one of my proudest moments, that I could issue the veto. They were trying to veto our sovereign right. We had the right to put the embassy wherever we wanted. They were trying to humiliate the United States, and Israel, and in the end we both came out stronger,” she said.