TEL AVIV – In the wake of the U.S. block on the appointment of former Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad as the United Nations envoy to Libya, Israel’s ambassador to the international body Danny Danon hailed the start of a “new era” in which the U.S. stands “firmly beside Israel.”
“This is the beginning of a new era at the UN. The United States stands firmly and unapologetically beside Israel,” Danon said.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said earlier that she was “disappointed” at the intended appointment of Fayyad to head the UN mission in Libya, and that her country “does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nation.”
“For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” she said.
“Going forward, the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies,” she added.
Danon hailed the move, saying “the new administration is working towards the joint interest of the United States, Israel and the special alliance between our two nations.”
“The new Administration proved once again that it stands firmly alongside the State of Israel in the international arena and in the UN in particular,” Danon said.
Danon further expressed his confidence that under President Donald Trump the “U.S. stands firmly behind Israel against any and all attempts to harm the Jewish state.”
Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro attacked the move as “stunningly dumb.”
“True, it’s farce, ridiculous. But if you know Fayyad — decent, smart, honest, ethical, hardworking — it’s much more outrageous,” Shapiro said in a tweet.
The PLO also condemned Haley for blocking the appointment, calling it “blatant discrimination on the basis of national identity.”
“It defies logic that the appointment of the most qualified candidate is blocked because it is perceived as detrimental to Israel. It constitutes a blanket license for the exclusion of Palestinians everywhere.”
The statement urged the U.S. to “take back” the decision and in the future to “block petty acts of bigotry and vindictiveness and the further victimization of the Palestinian people for the mere fact of their existence.”
Fayyad, 64, served as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres selected Fayyad to replace Martin Kobler, a German diplomat who has been the Libya envoy since November 2015.