Nikki Ha­ley will not be missed in Pales­tine

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The abrupt res­ig­na­tion of the U.S. Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Nikki Ha­ley, on Oc­to­ber 9 has pro­voked much spec­u­la­tion about her mo­ti­va­tion to do so and her po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions. But for Pales­tini­ans - and cer­tainly, for many other small na­tions tar­geted by Ha­ley’s an­gry diplo­macy for the last two years - the news brought about a mo­men­tary feel­ing of relief.

Over the past year and nine months, Ha­ley hap­pily led the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s vi­cious ef­forts to un­der­mine the Pales­tinian strug­gle for rights and self-de­ter­mi­na­tion, spew­ing ha­tred against Pales­tini­ans and singing the praises of Is­rael at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity she got. There can be no ra­tio­nal ex­pla­na­tion for Ha­ley’s ab­surd re­sent­ment of Pales­tini­ans and love of Is­rael, other than sheer op­por­tunism.

In his best­selling book, Fire and Fury: In­side the Trump White House, Michael Wolff de­scribes Ha­ley as an “op­por­tunist” who is as “am­bi­tious as Lu­cifer”. And judg­ing by her ca­reer path, she likely is.

Ha­ley was al­most com­pletely un­known, even na­tion­ally, when Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump se­lected her to be the face of Amer­i­can diplo­macy at the UN early last year.

Born into an im­mi­grant In­dian fam­ily, Nim­rata “Nikki” Ha­ley’s ca­reer as an ac­coun­tant took sev­eral un­ex­pected turns lead­ing to her be­ing the gov­er­nor of the state of South Carolina for two terms. If she was ar­guably suited to that post, she was most cer­tainly un­qual­i­fied to be­come the top U.S. for­eign pol­icy emis­sary at the world’s most im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tion.

As soon as she was con­firmed to her new po­si­tion, she devel­oped a dis­po­si­tion that would be re­mem­bered by Pales­tini­ans as the most ag­gres­sive and ar­ro­gant among all U.S. en­voys to the UN since the es­tab­lish­ment of Is­rael and de­struc­tion of Pales­tine in 1948.

It could be ar­gued that Ha­ley’s anti-Pales­tinian be­hav­ior at the UN was the nat­u­ral out­come of deep­en­ing U.S. sup­port for Is­rael.

True, the U.S.-Is­rael pact at the UN is as old as Is­rael it­self. But the last two decades have taken this re­la­tion­ship to new heights. The al­ready slanted U.S. po­si­tion on Is­rael’s oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tine and its brazen use of its veto power to shield Is­rael from in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism reached their zenith dur­ing the term of George W Bush’s am­bas­sador to the UN, John Ne­gro­ponte (2001-2004).

The “Ne­gro­ponte doc­trine” - the in­stant re­jec­tion, and if nec­es­sary, ve­to­ing of any UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion crit­i­cal of Is­rael - re­mained a sta­ple in U.S. for­eign pol­icy un­til to­day, with the no­table ex­cep­tion of Res­o­lu­tion 2334.

On De­cem­ber 23, 2016, the Obama Ad­min­is­tra­tion ab­stained from vot­ing on a res­o­lu­tion that con­demned Is­rael’s con­struc­tion of il­le­gal Jewish set­tle­ments in the Oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian Ter­ri­to­ries. Obama’s fi­nal act, al­though fee­ble and in­ef­fec­tive, vi­o­lated the main tenet of U.S. diplo­macy at the UN. Ex­pect­edly, Res­o­lu­tion 2334 en­raged Is­rael and its sup­port­ers in the new Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Soon af­ter, Ha­ley ar­rived in New York with a clear and ur­gent man­date: to right that “wrong” and reaf­firm the U.S.’ un­con­di­tional sup­port for Is­rael at the UN.

Ea­ger to re­as­sure Is­rael that it has not been aban­doned by Wash­ing­ton, Ha­ley launched her pro-Is­rael cam­paign at the an­nual pol­icy con­fer­ence of the Amer­i­can Is­rael Pub­lic Af­fairs Com­mit­tee (AIPAC) in March 2017, us­ing bizarre, tact­less lan­guage.

“There’s a new sher­iff in town,” she an­nounced be­fore 18,000 con­fer­ence at­ten­dees, in­tox­i­cated with ex­cite­ment.

“I wear heels. It’s not for a fash­ion state­ment,” she de­clared. “It’s be­cause if I see some­thing wrong, we’re go­ing to kick ‘em ev­ery sin­gle time.”

By “some­thing wrong”, Ha­ley was re­fer­ring to any cen­sure of Is­rael, or de­mand of ac­count­abil­ity and re­spect for in­ter­na­tional law at the UN, as in Res­o­lu­tion 2334, which she de­scribed as a “kick in the gut.” The U.S. doesn’t “have a greater friend than Is­rael,” she af­firmed.

Ha­ley stayed true to her words. She turned the UN into a plat­form for de­fend­ing Is­rael and de­mo­niz­ing Pales­tini­ans and their sup­port­ers within the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

The “Ha­ley doc­trine” went even fur­ther than Ne­gro­ponte’s, as the lat­ter was largely con­fined to block­ing res­o­lu­tions crit­i­cal of Is­rael. Ha­ley, on the other hand, stood up for Is­rael at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, and, along with Is­raeli Am­bas­sador to the UN Danny Danon, she con­spired to pun­ish coun­tries and UN agen­cies, in­clud­ing UNESCO and UNRWA, for rec­og­niz­ing Pales­tinian rights or pro­vid­ing aid to Pales­tinian refugees.

Ha­ley, there­fore, tried to man­age the UN from within - re­ward­ing and pun­ish­ing as she saw fit - to end what she strangely per­ceived as the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s sys­tem­atic tar­get­ing of Is­rael.

Ha­ley rec­og­nized Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael and called for the re­lo­ca­tion of her coun­try’s em­bassy be­fore the Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cially did so in De­cem­ber 2017.

Of course, if Ha­ley took time to mull over this state­ment, she would have re­al­ized that the un­re­solved oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tine would have not been a re­cur­ring is­sue at the UN if it were not for the blind and un­con­di­tional U.S. sup­port of Is­rael. But, of course, such in­tro­spec­tion is of no im­por­tance to Ha­ley, who con­tin­ued her anti-Pales­tinian tirade for months to come.

On May 14, Is­raeli snipers opened fire at un­armed pro­test­ers at the fence sep­a­rat­ing be­sieged Gaza from Is­rael, killing more than 60 and in­jur­ing thou­sands. Ha­ley was the only mem­ber of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil who couldn’t com­pre­hend the in­ter­na­tional out­rage over one of the worst Is­raeli mas­sacres in years.

While her term at the UN was short-lived, her im­pact was dev­as­tat­ing and scar­ring for in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to bring jus­tice for Pales­tine and for the Pales­tinian peo­ple’s faith in the ef­fec­tive­ness of the UN al­to­gether. And while Ha­ley was duly crit­i­cized by Pales­tini­ans for im­ped­ing in­ter­na­tional law, she was end­lessly cel­e­brated by Is­rael and its friends in Wash­ing­ton for be­ing a “true friend of Is­rael”.

Soon af­ter her res­ig­na­tion was an­nounced, Danon spoke fondly of Ha­ley for chal­leng­ing “anti-Is­rael bias” in the UN.

The U.S.-Is­raeli love af­fair at the UN and their on­go­ing war on Pales­tinian rights are likely to re­main un­changed, even af­ter Ha­ley’s de­par­ture. But she per­son­ally did so much dam­age with her bul­ly­ing tac­tics that she cer­tainly won’t be missed in Pales­tine.

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