In a new interview, a top Palestinian official told off U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley after she criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Nikki Haley needs to shut up and realize that the Palestinian leadership is not the problem,” Saeb Erekat told the website Al-Watan Voice on Saturday, the Times of Israel reports.
Erekat is a lead Palestinian peace negotiator and the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
“Instead, the problem is the Israeli occupation and the policies it continues to pursue. I’m not saying that we don’t make mistakes; every society and every government makes mistakes.”
Addressing the United Nations Security Council on Jan. 25, Haley had attacked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after he said she and American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman brought “shame on the administration” and that the Palestinian leadership won’t “accept the U.S. as a mediator” after it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace,” said Haley at the same time President Trump continues to allege that the FBI and Justice Department are out to get him.
“Ultimately, peace will not be achieved without leaders with courage,” she said.
Apparently taking this as a threat, Erekat accused Haley of pushing for a “coup” within the “Palestinian political system.”
“She called for overthrowing the democratically elected Palestinian president,” he said. “This is the president who led the peace process and promoted the principle of the two-state solution.
“Now this ambassador is accusing him of lacking courage and is calling for replacing him.”
Since Trump declared that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinians have intentionally avoided meeting with American officials.
At least 12 Palestinians were killedamid violent clashes in the month that the U.S. administration’s decision was announced, the majority occurring near the border fence in Gaza.
“We don’t seek a confrontation or a fight with the U.S. administration,” said Erekat. “On the contrary — they are the ones taking several steps. … Therefore, we are seeking, together with international parties, to convene an international conference for peace.”