Nikki Haley defends Donald Trump's Jerusalem decision, says it will move the ball forward for peace in region

Washington: US president Donald Trump's "courageous" decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital is going to move the ball forward for the peace process in the West Asia, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley said on Sunday amid protests in the region against the move.

Trump's announcement on Wednesday that the US would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and begin the process of moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv, was met with protests and violence from Palestinians.

Jerusalem, the eastern part of which was annexed from Jordan by Israel in 1967, has long been a sticking point in peace negotiations in the region.

In a statement the Arab League Sunday said that Trump's Jerusalem decision has "isolated" the US from the peace process.

On Friday, 14 of the 15 countries in the UN Security Council opposed Trump's decision.

File image of US representative to the UN Nikki Haley. Reuters

File image of US representative to the UN Nikki Haley. Reuters

Haley defended Trump's decision and said that such a reaction from the international community was expected.

"Trump’s decision basically says that the United States acknowledges that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, and saying also that the embassy is going to be moved to the capital, just like it is in almost every other country," she said.

"Jerusalem has the Israeli Parliament, office of the president, prime minister, and it has the Supreme Court. So, why shouldn't we have the embassy there?” Haley asked.

She said Americans have been demanding this for the past 22 years.

"And no president, not (Bill) Clinton, not (George) Bush, not (Barack) Obama, actually had the courage to make that move and listen to the will of the American people. The Senate just overwhelmingly again voted to have the embassy moved. So, the president did the will of the people," she told the CNN in an interview.

She said she strongly believed that the move "is going to move the ball forward for the peace process".

Trump, Haley said, realised that waiting did not help anyone for 22 years.

"Now let's try and move the ball. What I will tell you is, you have to look at the situation, that he just took Jerusalem off the table. He just took it off the table," she said.

"So, now they get to come together. They get to decide what the borders will look like. They get to decide the boundaries. They get to talk about how they want to see Jerusalem going forward," she said.

Responding to a question on the Arab League, she said the US had a lot more in common with the grouping than they have ever had before.

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Updated Date: Dec 11, 2017 09:11:51 IST

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