TEL AVIV – Drama unfolded at the United Nations Tuesday as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas angrily described President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem a “dangerous” move before stomping out after his speech as U.S. envoy Nikki Haley snapped back, “we will not chase after you.”
In his address to the UN Security Council, Abbas, who in December declared that the U.S. could no longer be considered an impartial broker to Israeli-Palestinian talks after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, continued his write-off of Washington by calling for an international conference later this year under the supervision of the UN.
“To solve the Palestine question, it is essential to establish a multilateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference,” the PA president said.
“The administration has taken Jerusalem off the table,” Abbas added, quoting the term Trump used last month.
He slammed the Trump administration’s decision to cut aid from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, “which they helped establish.”
The Palestinians, Abbas said, have a historical presence in the territory going back some “5,000 years.”
“We are descendants of the Canaanites that lived in Palestine 5,000 years ago and have continuously remained there to this day,” he said, adding that there are currently six million Palestinian refugees.
“Six million Palestine refugees continue to suffer from the cruelty of exile and loss of human security. They continue to wander the world after the loss of their peaceful and stable lives in their homeland,” he said. “They are part of the 13 million Palestinians whose country has not yet been recognized as a full member state of the United Nations, despite the numerous resolutions reaffirming their right to self-determination and statehood on their national land.”
Abbas also said that the Palestinians “are ready to begin negotiations immediately in order to achieve peace,” but added that that would only happen on condition that Trump retracts his recognition of Jerusalem and Israel ceases all building in West Bank settlements.
“We are working for the occupation, we are employees for the occupation, and we say that Israel must be held to its obligations as an occupying power,” he said about the PA, echoing criticism made by Palestinian elements that the PA works for Israel.
Abbas also warned that the refugee aid cuts could leave desperate Palestinians turning to terrorism and flooding into Europe.
Haley, who was joined at the UN by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and special Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, addressed Abbas directly in her remarks even though the PA president left the chamber immediately after his speech.
“Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk,” Haley said. “But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”
She continued by saying that Abbas’ constant lamentations “will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere.”
Rather, she said, Abbas should channel his anger towards making a better life for his people.
She also addressed the claim made by senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat that the Trump administration is orchestrating a “coup” to overthrow Abbas. Erekat previously told Haley to “shut up.”
“Nikki Haley needs to shut up and realize that the Palestinian leadership is not the problem,” the top Palestinian diplomat said.
“She called for overthrowing the democratically elected Palestinian president,” Erekat continued, calling the UN envoy “impudent.”
Haley told the Security Council on Tuesday, “I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon slammed Abbas for walking out.
“Once again, he is running away,” Danon said. “He put his demands on the table and he left, and he is expecting you to deliver the results. It’s not going to work that way. The only way to achieve results is to have direct negotiations.”
“Every time there’s an inch of progress,” he added, “Mr. Abbas runs away.”
The Israeli envoy continued by telling the absent Abbas that “in 2017, you spent $345 million paying terrorists for killing innocent Israelis.”
“That is 50% of the total foreign aid donated to the PA. This is money you could have spent building 40 hospitals. This is money you could have used to build over 170 schools – every single year,” he said.