The U.S. ambassador to the UN criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying Thursday that the Palestinian leader "lacked the courage and the will to seek peace."
- We Took Jerusalem Off the Negotiating Table, Trump Says Alongside Netanyahu in Davos
- Palestinians Respond to Trump: If Jerusalem Off Table, Then U.S. No Longer Has Seat at the Table
- Abbas Is Right. Why Does Israel Keep Saying He's Wrong?
Addressing the United Nations Security Council meeting on the Middle East, Nikki Haley said the United States will not "chase after leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace."
Haley ripped into Abbas' speech two weeks ago at a meeting of the Palestinian leadership as "a speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories."
She said that it was "not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace."
Her statement mirrors the sentiments voiced by President Donald Trump, who spoke to the media ahead of at a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday.
Trump criticized the Palestinians, who refused to meet Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Israel this week in protest over the administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"When they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support, tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands.
"That money is on the table. That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace" with Israel, he said.
However, Trump then noted that the U.S. had taken the issue of Jerusalem out of the talks. "They never got past Jerusalem. We took it off the table. We don’t have to talk about it anymore." Turning to Netanyahu, he said, "You win one point, and you’ll give up some points later in the negotiation, if it ever takes place. I don’t know that it ever will take place."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has since fired back, according to officials for the Palestinian leader, saying that if Jerusalem is off the negotiating table then the U.S. no longer has a seat at that table.
Trump's statement that Jerusalem is "off the table" contradicts what he himself said and what his vice president recently told Israelis: that the U.S. decision to recognize the city as Israel's capital will not influence the final status of its borders.
The meeting between the heads of state is taking place just 72 hours after Netanyahu met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Jerusalem, who promised that the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to an existing consular office in Jerusalem by the end of 2019.
The only other bilateral meeting that Trump is scheduled to have with a world leader on Thursday is with British Prime Minister Theresa May.