How does new US envoy to UN stand on Israel?
Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman and former Fox News reporter, will be replacing Nikki Haley as the next ambassador to the United Nations. With big shoes to fill, many Israelis wonder how Nauert will compare to her predecessor.
Though Nauert is a President Donald Trump favorite and a current voice for the administration, Haley was considered a cherished diplomat to the pro-Israel community. Those wondering how she’ll weigh up will look to her time at the State Department, where Nauert speaks frequently about Israel and the Middle East.
During press briefings, she often sticks to the script and maintains the administration’s staunch pro-Israel stance. When asked about controversial Israeli policies or decisions, she almost always defers to the Israeli government.
Questioned about the proposed demolition of the West Bank Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar, she emphasized the Israeli legal process and the decisions of its courts.
“The impending evacuation of the Bedouin residence in that village follows a lengthy legal process I believe that’s gone on for eight years or so, and I’d just have to refer you back to the Government of Israel on that one.”
She embraced a similar approach on the case of Lara Alqasem, an American student who was detained and denied entry to Israel for her alleged support of BDS.
“Our embassy is providing consular access, as we would to all American citizens. We value freedom of expression.” She went on to say, “Ultimately, it is up to the Government of Israel to decide who it wants to let into the country,” while downplaying Alqasem’s detainment, which was the focus of the reporter’s question.
Nauert has displayed some of Haley’s signature fiery rhetoric when condemning Israel’s
adopted – let alone considered – a resolution that acknowledges the reality on the ground. In June, a plurality of member states supported a US amendment that condemned Hamas for its violent acts of terrorism during the so-called “Great March of Return.” Last week’s resolution built on the language and spirit of that amendment.
The US resolution served as a litmus test for the international community on a number of fronts, including that of antisemitism. At a time when the ever-present specter of antisemitism has, once again, become a deadly reality, the UN had the opportunity to take a unified stand against this ageold bigotry, as Hamas is one of the world’s greatest offenders of antisemitism: its charter calls for the destruction of Israel and for a genocide of the Jewish people. Hamas’s pursuit of its genocidal ambitions endangers civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian. Rather than using the medical supplies, construction materials and financial aid to improve the lives of the Palestinians under its control in the Gaza Strip, Hamas diverts these resources toward constructing
terror tunnels, launching missiles and airborne incendiary devices, and building its military infrastructure for the purpose of attacking Israel.
Since 2001, Hamas has launched more than 13,000 rockets into Israeli population centers; that’s nearly three rockets per day for 17 years. As its rockets fall on homes and schools in Israel, Hamas terrorists use Palestinian civilians – including children – as human shields when carrying out attacks against our soldiers. Instead of building a better life for the Palestinians, Hamas aims to destroy the lives of Israelis.
It is clear why the United States, Israel, the European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and a handful of other countries have designated Hamas a terrorist organization. The question remains: why have more countries, and particularly the UN, not followed suit? It is unfortunate that the truth does not get the attention it deserves – or any attention, for that matter. Even though nearly 2 million Palestinians live under Hamas’s abusive governance in the Gaza Strip, an area it has controlled since 2007’s brutal civil war against the Palestinian Authority, Israel alone is blamed for their situation.
Developments leading up to the vote further demonstrated that truth is often stranger than fiction. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh wrote a protest letter – which included a clear call for violence against Israel – to the president of the General Assembly in anticipation of the US resolution. A terrorist organization pleading its case before the UN is akin to a serial killer asking the police for assistance. And in the days leading up to the vote, the PA chose to come to Hamas’s aid. Despite Hamas throwing Fatah officials off rooftops in Gaza in 2007, PA President Mahmoud Abbas still defended Haniyeh. Apparently, hatred for Israel is powerful enough to overcome even the most violent internal Palestinian rivalry.
The UN resolution to condemn Hamas was historic: 87 countries voted in favor of condemning the terrorist group, with US Ambassador Nikki Haley instrumental in helping form this unprecedented coalition that stood with Israel and against terrorism. And it was also necessary: it showed the world which countries support Hamas and which oppose terrorism, which countries make excuses for antisemitism and which are sincere in their efforts to combat it. It put the organization on notice that we will not give up the fight against it at the UN.
In the end, instead of issuing empty promises to combat antisemitism, making hollow statements of support for the Palestinian people, and incessantly blaming Israel, the UN could have taken the first step in recognizing that Hamas is the true threat to Israel and the Palestinian people, and finally condemned this terrorist organization.
The writer is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. •