(JTA) — At a special discussion at the United Nations Security Council about U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the move improves the chance of reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
“We must recognize that the prospect of peace is advanced, not set back,” by President Donald Trump’s move Wednesday, Haley said Friday at the meeting at the UN headquarters in New York City.
The declaration affirms, she said, that “all parties are honest with each other” as “for nearly 70 years, Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel” regardless of U.S. recognition. She said the recognition was based on “common sense.”
But the move, Haley added, does not mean America is taking a position on the “boundaries or borders” of any final sovereignty in Jerusalem, which “is still to be decided on by Israelis and Palestinian in negotiations,” she said. Haley also reiterated Trump’s call for maintaining the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy places.
Haley also spoke of the Jewish People’s attachment to Jerusalem “through 3,000 years of exile,” calling Jews “patient.”
In her address, Haley also attacked the singling out of Israel at the United Nations, saying that the world body has “done much more damage for the prospects of peace than to advance it.”
Friday’s special session was called after world leaders said the move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would disrupt peace prospects in the Middle East.
The envoys for Russia and China spoke of “grave concern” over the U.S. move, adding it threatens their vision for a two-state solution in which Israel and a Palestinian state both have their capitals in Jerusalem.
The Chinese ambassador said the Israeli-Palestinian remains “central to efforts to reach peace throughout the Middle East.”
The representative of Italy, who said his country was one of the initiators of the emergency meeting on Jerusalem, said Rome remains committed to neutrality on Jerusalem until its status is agreed-upon by Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, was to address the session Friday afternoon. He tweeted a photo of himself and Haley shortly before the session. He said he would “call on all countries to join us *this* year in Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.”