U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is defending President Donald Trump’s plan to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Asked on Sunday’s Face the Nation program on CBS why — given the violence and tension in the Middle East — this is a priority and in America’s best interest at this point in time, Haley replied, “This is a move the American people have asked for for 22 years and, six months ago, the Senate overwhelmingly again asked for the embassy to be moved.”
She went on to say every recent presidential candidate — regardless of his or her political party — has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and agreed the U.S. embassy should be located there.
“President Trump is the only one who had the courage to actually do that,” Haley said. “What this does is basically do what we do in almost every other country, which is put the embassy in the capital city and Jerusalem is where the prime minister is, the president is, the parliament, the supreme court. It makes sense for our embassy to be there.”
Interviewer John Dickerson pressed further on why Wednesday’s announcement needed to be made now and if the move is worth the violence it has sparked.
Haley countered: “Because it is the right thing to do. It is absolutely the right thing to do.
“Look, for the last 22 years, everyone around every president has said, ‘Just wait, just wait, just wait.’ And President Trump is not going to wait any more,” Haley said. “It’s the right thing to do because it is just reality. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. They have said that. When the American people say they want something, it is their will that we are supposed to follow.”
She said Trump avoided speaking last week about boundaries and borders in the region because the final status of Jerusalem is between the Palestinians and the Israelis to determine.
“It’s not for the Americans to decide, so we are doing what we do in every other country. Israel should be no different and then we are going to continue to support the peace process,” she said. “Courage breeds leadership. What you saw, was you saw a courageous move by the president. And, of course, any time you have to use courage, any time you have to go against the status quo, you’re going to have people saying, ‘The sky is falling.’ But the sky is not falling. If anything, what we are going to see is both sides are going to come to the table. They are going to decide what they think Jerusalem should look like and we are going to support that process.”
By Karen Butler