Nikki Haley Breaks Ranks With Trump Administration: U.S. Embassy in Israel Should Be in Jerusalem

U.S. ambassador to UN Haley questions that the status of Jerusalem has to be part of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, says Western Wall is part of Israel

Donald Trump's UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has broken ranks with the Trump administration by supporting the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on Tuesday night. 

Ambassador Nikki Haley said in an interview with the right-wing Christian Broadcasting Network that she supports moving the embassy, and that she wasn't even sure if Jerusalem should at all be part of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, a position that is likely to generate angry backlash from the Arab world. 

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The Trump administration has been making it clear in recent days that it still hasn't reached a decision on the issue. Just this weekend, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hinted that such a decision wasn't likely any time soon, since President Donald Trump wanted to see what kind of effect it would have on his attempts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. 

In the interview, Haley said: "Obviously, I believe that the capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem, because if you look at all their government, it's in Jerusalem." In fact, Israel's Ministry of Defense - the largest branch of the government - is located in Tel Aviv. Haley added that "so much of what goes on is in Jerusalem, we have to see that for what it is."

According to Haley, however, "the tricky part is where the Palestinians come in on this and where the Israelis come in on this. The Israelis don't want to give on Jerusalem at all, and we have to see how strong the Palestinians stand on that. That's your touchy part," she explained, adding: "Is Jerusalem even on the table? We may have to stop just for that talking point, but we'll have to see." 

Haley also made it clear that she believes that the Western Wall is part of Israel, after National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster refused to clarify the U.S. position on the matter. The national security adviser was asked to comment after U.S. diplomats in Jerusalem snubbed Israeli offers to help with arranging President Donald Trump's visit to the holy site, saying that the area is in the West Bank and Israel has no authority there. "That's a policy decision," McMaster noted.

In the interview, Haley unequivocally stated that the Western Wall was part of Israel. "I don’t know what the policy of the administration is but I believe the Western Wall is part of Israel and I think that that is how we’ve always seen it and that’s how we should pursue itwe’ve always thought the Western Wall was part of Israel.”