The United States government on Friday eighty-sixed the nomination of Salam Fayyad, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister from 2007 to 2013, to be the next United Nations special representative to Libya. According to the NY Times, the Trump Administration’s objection had to the with the fact that there is no such thing as a Palestinian state.
US envoy at the UN, Nikki Haley, said in a statement that the Trump administration “was disappointed” that UN secretary-general, António Guterres had already announced to the Security Council his appointment of Fayyad, seeing as it would make much better sense for the UN to be represented by diplomats from real countries, not imaginary ones.
Haley said that “For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” adding that “the United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations.” Therefore, “Going forward, the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies.”
Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement: “This is the beginning of a new era at the U.N. The United States stands firmly and unapologetically beside Israel.”
Sadly, Fayyad has been one of the most rational voices in the Palestinian Authority. For instance, in June 2011, he went against Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO’s official position, and expressed skepticism about asking the UN to vote on Palestinian statehood, saying it would be only a symbolic victory that leads nowhere. In 2007, Fayyad told Forbes: “It’s the responsibility of men of religion to […] present religion as a way of tolerance, not as a cover for bloodshed.”