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US ambassador to the UN calls for end to 'bullying' of Israel during 3-day visit

June 8, 2017 5:43 P.M. (Updated: June 9, 2017 12:44 P.M.)
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the UN could no longer “bully” Israel over its violations of international law, during a three-day visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank in which she met with both Israeli and Palestinian officials.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Haley -- who was appointed by US President Donald Trump, known for his use of domineering and threatening rhetoric -- said she had “no patience” for bullying and that “we are not going to let that happen anymore.”

Both Israel and Trump’s administration have criticized the UN for what they deem is the unfair targeting of Israel over its breaches of international law, particularly its illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Haley’s visit comes in the footsteps of a UN Human Rights Council meeting during which she said that the US could leave the UN body unless it backed off from criticizing Israel.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hailed Haley, saying that, thanks to her, “Israel is no longer the UN’s punching bag.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed gratitude to Haley for standing up for the “truth” and for Israel, which he said meant “standing up for America,” in a meeting in which the two notably discussed how to prepare for an eventual UN resolution denouncing the humanitarian impact of the crippling 10-year Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Haley said she appreciated the support she has received from Israel, adding that “all I did at the United Nations was tell the truth.”

Israeli media reported that Haley visited the Western Wall in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday, and the border between Gaza and Israel on Thursday.

The Jerusalem Post added that Haley also met with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah on Wednesday, where they reportedly discussed the humanitarian situation in the besieged Gaza Strip and the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN body dealing with Palestinian refugees.

Haley also visited a UN-run school in the Aida refugee camp in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Thursday morning.

Haley’s visit will come just weeks after Trump’s visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, which was widely denounced by Palestinians and rights groups given the far-right leader’s strong support of Israel and its policies targeting Palestinians, as well as his notorious anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The Israeli government has welcomed Trump’s presidency, as right-wing politicians believe they will more easily advance plans to expand Israeli settlements since Trump came forward as a vocal supporter of Israel and expressed opposition to a recently passed UNSC resolution that harshly condemned illegal settlements.
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