by Lilach Shoval, Nikki Guttman, Daniel Siryoti, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
Haley: Although the media focuses on every step Israel takes in self-defense, U.N. must not lose sight of "very real damage" to Israel from Gaza terror.
|U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley Photo: Reuters|
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday slammed Arab and Muslim states for talking a lot about supporting the Palestinians but not giving more money to help.
Haley listed how much money countries like Egypt, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, along with Algeria, Tunisia, Pakistan, Oman, Iran and Turkey, have given – or not given – to the U.N.'s agency for Palestinian refugees.
"No group of countries is more generous with their words than the Palestinians' Arab neighbors, and other OIC member states," Haley told a U.N. Security Council meeting on the Middle East, citing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
"But all of the words spoken here in New York do not feed, clothe, or educate a single Palestinian child. All they do is get the international community riled up," she said.
Haley said Iran, Algeria and Tunisia gave nothing to UNRWA last year and Pakistan and Egypt gave just $20,000. While Turkey gave $6.7 million, Kuwait $9 million and the United Arab Emirates $12.8 million, she said the United States gave $364 million to UNRWA last year – plus an additional $300 million to the Palestinians in bilateral aid.
Since 1993, Haley said, the United States has provided over $6 billion in assistance to Palestinians.
"How much have the Arab countries – some of whom are wealthy countries – how much have they given to the Palestinians?" Haley asked. "It does not come anywhere close to what the United States has done."
Saudi Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi had a sharp reply, though he didn’t mention the United States, which is a close ally.
He said Saudi Arabia gave $100 million to UNRWA over the past year, $1 billion to UNRWA over the last two decades, "and more than $6 billion, with a B, to the Palestinian people over the last two decades in the form of humanitarian development."
"Saudi Arabia strongly believes in actions, not words," Al-Mouallimi said.
Haley also called out China and Russia for talking "a big game about the Palestinian cause" but providing only $350,000 and $2 million respectively to UNRWA in 2017.
China's U.N. Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu told the council, "We have no intention of competing with any other countries."
Haley said it was time for the "regional states, in particular, to step up."
"While the international media pays very careful attention to every step Israel takes in self-defense, we must not lose sight of the very real damage that is being done to Israel from terrorist attacks coming from Gaza.
"Where are the Arab countries when it comes to encouraging reconciliation between Palestinian factions, which is essential to peace? Where are the Arab countries when it comes to denouncing Hamas terrorism? Where are the Arab countries when it comes to supporting compromises that are necessary for peace?"
Haley said that if the Arab states really cared about the Palestinian people, "they would condemn extremism and they would put forth serious ideas for compromises that could end this struggle and lead to a better life for the Palestinian people. They would tell the Palestinian leadership how foolish they look for condemning a peace proposal they haven't even seen yet."
She said that "judging by the vitriol that is directed toward the United States from the Palestinian representatives, including the one here today, and from some of their allies, one might fairly conclude that our support is unappreciated or unwelcomed.
"Americans are very generous people. We are humanitarian oriented people. And we continue to seek out ways to help the Palestinian people, whose plight is of genuine concern to us. But we are not fools. If we extend a hand in friendship and generosity, we do not expect our hand to be bitten."
According to IRIN, a nonprofit that reports on humanitarian issues, the UAE and Kuwait were ranked in the top five most generous aid donors compared with national income globally in 2017, while the United States came in at 16.
"Sometimes the numbers and facts talk for themselves," said Kuwait's U.N. Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi.
Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour said Haley had insulted U.S. allies "in an arrogant way."
Mansour said it is also imperative to mobilize funds for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, "given its vital role in Gaza and beyond."
UAE U.N. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh agreed with Haley that real action was needed to assist the Palestinian people.
"With our total donation of more than $125 million just last year, we believe that we are doing our part to address the immediate needs of the Palestinians," she said.
U.S. President Donald Trump withheld UNRWA aid after questioning the organization's value and saying the Palestinians needed to agree to renew peace talks with Israel, while the State Department said UNRWA needed to make unspecified reforms.
"It is now gone about a year since we discussed this here and we were informed about plans and we haven't seen it yet," Sweden's U.N. Ambassador Olof Skoog, president of the Security Council for July, told reporters. "I think there is a problem that there's no credible plan on the table."
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