US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, arrived in Israel on Friday. Ambassador Power will meet with senior Israeli government officials, members of Israeli civil society, and students. She is expected to use this time to try to jump-start the peace negotiations and advance the two-state solution.Her position as UN Ambassador makes her a cabinet member and she is known to be a close adviser to US President Barack Obama.
“[I] will meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders… to discuss US commitment to two states side by side in security and peace,” Power tweeted upon her arrival.
Ambassador Power will meet with senior Palestinian Authority officials, students, residents of a refugee camp, and civil society leaders from Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.
Additionally, Ambassador Power will meet with UN agencies and will travel to Israel’s border with Gaza to meet with Israeli communities targeted by rockets, assess security conditions, visit a border crossing, and receive a briefing on the humanitarian conditions inside Gaza.
On Monday, February 15, Ambassador Power will visit the Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem, which serves over 600 students from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds. She will participate in a basketball scrimmage with PeacePlayers, an NGO that brings Israelis and Palestinians together through sports diplomacy programs.
Later that day, Ambassador Power will deliver remarks at the Israel Middle East Model UN Conference at the American International School in Even Yehuda. Ambassador Power’s remarks to students from more than 40 schools will focus on how young people can help the UN live up to its core principles, including by fighting bias and injustice.
Ambassador Power recently said that America “strongly opposes” settlement activity, and that settlements are “fundamentally incompatible with the two-state solution and [raise] legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions.” She also stated that “settlement activity can never in itself be an excuse for violence.”
She has been accused of having an anti-Israel bias, though many strong supporters of Israel have contested that claim. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Martin Peretz, Max Boot, and Alan Dershowitz have rejected claims she is anti-Israel. She was also praised by Michael Oren, Israel’s former UN Ambassador. She has been credited with keeping the US out of Durban II, a 2009 reprise of the 2001 conference on racism in South Africa that devolved into a festival of Israel bashing.
Power cancelled a trip to Israel scheduled last month, as the White House became involved in preparing a response to the North Korean nuclear test.