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Nikki Haley: UN hurts Israel-Palestine peace process

US ambassador defends President Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital at Security Council session.

Nikki Haley

The US ambassador to the UN has said, during an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council, the UN has been a negative force in the peace process between Israel and Palestine.

The emergency meeting was called after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday and said he would start the process of moving its embassy there.

The "UN has done much more damage to the prospects of Middle East peace, than to advance them", Nikki Haley, the US ambassador, said, adding that the "UN has outrageously been one of the world's foremost centres of hostility towards Israel".

Trump's decision has caused anger and prompted protests throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, and drawn international condemnation as well as protests at Israeli embassies across the world.

At least one Palestinian has been killed during the protests and scores more have been wounded.

Haley told the emergency meeting that in "every country of the world, US embassies are located in the host country's capital. Israel should be no different".

The recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital does not mean the US has "taken a position on boundaries or borders" of Israeli sovereignty in the holy city, Haley said.

These will be determined during negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

Neither does the move advocate for a change in the status of holy sites or al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, which many Jewish Israelis say is the site of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, Hailey remarked.

Analysts say it has stripped the US of its status as an honest broker in the peace process and angered Palestinian officials such as Jibril Rajboub, who said Palestinians "will not receive" US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit later this month.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said on Friday that Palestinians will not talk to the US until Trump has reversed his decision.

Erekat also said the Palestinian leadership was considering all options in response to Trump's announcement.

However, Haley is convinced Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital will advance peace.

"If and when there's a historic peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians there's a good likelihood that it … will be signed on the White House lawn," she said. 

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