Feb. 27, 2018
Ambassador Haley Talks Tough to Mahmoud Abbas: Tired Talking Points and
Obstinacy Lead Palestinians Nowhere
Dear Friend of FLAME:
Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the U.N. Security
Council at its monthly session on the Middle East. Instead of dealing with slaughter in Syria or Iranian imperialism, delegates listened as
Mahmoud Abbas trotted out tired complaints and outright lies trying to
explain why 70 years of peace efforts have gone nowhere.
Abbas's talking points are so numerous and outrageous, it would take
a book to refute them all. But a few of his observations about the United
States are especially noteworthy.
First, Abbas complains that the Trump administration refuses to affirm
whether it supports a one-state or a two-state solution. In fact, Mr. Trump
has left that determination to Israel and the Palestinians—in other
words, Trump has said to the Palestinians, "You work out peace terms with
Israel, and we will support what you agree on."
This, of course, is the last thing Abbas wants to hear, since the last
thing he wants to do is negotiate peace with Israel—preferring instead that
the U.S. or someone unilaterally impose Arab-fantasy peace terms on
But the President has done precisely the right thing by emphasizing to the
Palestinians that peace will depend on them—on their willingness to
face the facts of their political situation (which is weaker than it's ever
been). They must step into the negotiating room with a tough, strong Israel
that is not about to cut a deal that compromises its security.
Abbas also complained that the U.S. wants to "punish the Palestine refugees
by way of reduction of its contribution to UNRWA." Of course, Abbas
neglects to mention that only about 30,000 of the five million Palestinian
Arabs UNRWA supports are actual refugees—most are descendants of
refugees, giving them a status accorded no other refugee descendants on earth. He also fails to mention that
UNRWA teaches Palestinian children that the land of Israel belongs to them.
Finally, Abbas bitterly laments that the Trump administration has
recognized Jerusalem as the Israel's capital, "ignoring that East Jerusalem
is part of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 and is our
Of course, there's no such thing as Palestinian territory—the territory
Israel captured in 1967 was part of ancient Israel and was controlled from
1948 by Jordan, not the Palestinians, who have never been a nation nor controlled a square inch of the Holy Land,
let alone Jerusalem, which has always been a majority Jewish city.
But this point, too, is instructive of Trumpian wisdom on this issue. In
essence, the President has said that the U.S. is not prejudging the outcome
of Jerusalem, but rather we do know it is and has always been the capital of Israel. If you Palestinians
want a capital in Jerusalem, you'll have to negotiate it with Israel—we
will help facilitate negotiations, but we will not try to impose outcomes.
This strategy is bold, powerful and momentous. It forces, finally, the
Palestinians to face reality—a reality that decades of U.S. intervention
have not been able to overcome. The fact is, Israel won all its wars
against the invading Arab nations (whom the Palestinians enthusiastically
supported). Trump is saying: If you want peace, it's time to negotiate with the victor.
This week's FLAME Hotline-featured article is by one of the heroes
of Trump's Middle East policy, America's U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Her
"article" is actually a transcript of the historic speech she gave in
response to Mahmoud Abbas, delivered a few minutes after that of the
Ms. Haley's remarks are brilliant—tough, realistic and respectful. She tells Abbas what he must do
to redeem the Palestinian people, and she offers U.S. help. But she
also makes clear that the U.S. will not chase him down.
I hope you'll forward this classic speech to friends, family and fellow
congregants to help them understand why we should support President Trump's "hands-off" policy regarding an
hope you'll also quickly review the P.S. immediately below, which
describes FLAME's latest hasbarah campaign to directly urge the President and U.S. Congress to back up their rhetoric
on Iran with definitive action. I hope you agree with and will support
President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)
As you know, Iran has become the largest state sponsor of global
terrorism and the most dangerous enemy of the U.S. What's worse, the
Islamic Republic continues to spread its jihadist tentacles throughout the
Middle East, and now has armed forces on Israel's borders in Syria and
Lebanon. No wonder FLAME has created a new editorial message—"We Must Stop Iran Now"—which is about to start running in mainstream magazines and newspapers, including college newspapers, with a combined
readership of some 10 million people. In addition, it is being sent to
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Hard Truth for Mahmoud Abbas: The Path of Obstinacy Will Lead the
Palestinian People Nowhere
Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United
Nations, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, New York City, February
Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, for being with us today . . . We are
meeting today in a forum that is very familiar to all of us. This session
on the Middle East has been taking place each month for many, many years.
Its focus has been almost entirely on issues facing Israelis and
Palestinians. And we have heard many of the same arguments and ideas over
and over again. We have already heard them again this morning.
It is as if saying the same things repeatedly, without actually doing the
hard work and making the necessary compromises, will achieve anything.
Beginning last year, we have tried to broaden the discussion, and we have
had some success in doing so. I thank my colleagues who have participated
in those broader discussions.
One reason we did that is our well-founded belief that the United
spends an altogether disproportionate amount of time on Israeli-Palestinian
issues. It's not that those issues are unimportant. They are certainly very
important. The problem is that the UN has proven itself time and again to
be a grossly biased organization when it comes to Israel.
As such, the UN's disproportionate focus has actually made the problem more
difficult to solve, by elevating the tensions and the grievances between
the two parties.
Another reason we have attempted to shift the discussion is that the vast
scope of the challenges facing the region dwarf the Israeli-Palestinian
As we meet here today, the Middle East is plagued by many truly horrendous
In Yemen, there is one of the worst humanitarian disasters on earth, with
millions of people facing starvation. Meanwhile, militia groups fire
Iranian rockets from Yemen into neighboring countries. In Syria, the Assad
regime is using chemical weapons to gas its own people. This war has taken
the lives of over half a million Syrians.
Millions more have been pushed into neighboring Jordan,
Turkey, and Lebanon as refugees, causing major hardships in those
In Lebanon, Hezbollah terrorists exert ever-more control, illegally
building up a stockpile of offensive weapons, inviting a dangerous
escalation that could devastate regional security.
ISIS is engaged in an inhumane level of cruelty in much of the region.
They've been dealt severe setbacks in Iraq and Syria, but they are not
completely yet destroyed, and they still pose serious threats.
Egypt faces repeated terrorist attacks.
And of course, there is the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iran that
initiates and encourages most of the troubles I just outlined.
These immense security and humanitarian challenges throughout the region
should occupy more of our attention, rather than having us sit here month
after month and use the most democratic country in the Middle East as a
scapegoat for the region's problems.
But here we go again.
I do not mean to suggest that there is no suffering
in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides have suffered greatly. So
many innocent Israelis have been killed or injured by suicide bombings,
stabbings, and other sickening terrorist attacks. Israel has been forced to
live under constant security threats like virtually no other country in the
world. It should not have to live that way.
And yet, Israel has overcome those burdens. It is a thriving country, with
a vibrant economy that contributes much to the world in the name of
technology, science, and the arts.
It is the Palestinian people who are suffering more. The Palestinians in
Gaza live under Hamas terrorist oppression. I can't even call it a
governing authority, as Hamas provides so little in the way of what one
would normally think as government services.
The people of Gaza live in truly awful conditions, while their Hamas rulers
put their resources into building terror tunnels and rockets. The
Palestinians in the West Bank also suffer greatly. Too many have died, and
too much potential has been lost in this conflict.
We are joined here today by Palestinian Authority President Abbas.
I'm sorry he declined to stay in the chamber to hear the remarks of others.
Even though he has left the room, I will address the balance of my remarks
President Abbas, when the new American administration came into the office
last January, we did so against the fresh backdrop of the passage of
Security Council Resolution 2334.
In the waning days of the previous American administration, the United
States made a serious error in allowing that resolution to pass. Resolution
2334 was wrong on many levels. I am not going to get into the substance
But beyond the substance, perhaps its biggest flaw was that it encouraged
the false notion that Israel can be pushed into a deal that undermines its
vital interests, damaging the prospects for peace by increasing mistrust
between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
In the last year, the United States has worked to repair that damage. At
the UN, I have opposed the bias against Israel, as any ally should do.
But that does not mean I or our administration is against the
Just the opposite is true. We recognize the suffering of the Palestinian
people, as I have recognized here today.
I sit here today offering the outstretched hand of the United States to the
Palestinian people in the cause of peace. We are fully prepared to look to
a future of prosperity and co-existence. We welcome you as the leader of
the Palestinian people here today.
But I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator,
Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some
The Palestinian leadership has a choice to make between two different
paths. There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and
incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to
nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people.
Or, there is the path of negotiation and compromise.
History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan,
including the transfer of territory. That path remains open to the
Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it.
The United States knows the Palestinian leadership was very unhappy with
the decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem. You don't have to like that
decision. You don't have to praise it. You don't even have to accept it.
But know this: that decision will not change.
So once again, you must choose between two paths. You can choose to
denounce the United States, reject the U.S. role in peace talks, and pursue
punitive measures against Israel in international forums like the UN. I
assure you that path will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward
the achievement of their aspirations.
Or, you can choose to put aside your anger about the location of our
embassy, and move forward with us toward a negotiated compromise that holds
great potential for improving the lives of the Palestinian people.
Putting forward old talking points and entrenched and undeveloped
achieves nothing. That approach has been tried many times, and has always
failed. After so many decades, we welcome new thinking.
As I mentioned in this meeting last month, the United States stands ready
to work with the Palestinian leadership.
Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not
chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.