Nikki Haley, (R-SC), speaks during her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, January 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. Haley was nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to become representative of the United States of America to the United Nations. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP
MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP
Nikki Haley, nominated to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations, told senators Wednesday that she supports Donald Trump’s plan to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The embassy is located in Tel Aviv, and outgoing secretary of state John Kerry believes that moving it to Jerusalem would be “explosive” since both Israel and the Palestinians claim the city as their capital.
Haley, the 44 year-old governor of South Carolina and daughter of Indian immigrants, was asked at her senate confirmation hearing if she supported Trump’s campaign trail promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
“Absolutely,” Haley said. “And not only is that what Israel wants, but that is what this Congress has said that is what they support.”
Haley was also asked about her priorities if she gets the new job.
“I think that the biggest part is how we represent America going forward,” Haley said. “We need to represent our country from a point of strength. We need to remind the rest of the world that we are the moral compass of the world, and we need to express our values as we go forward.”
If the US embassy is moved to Jerusalem, it would break decades of US policy and be at odds with the overwhelming majority of other nations, which believe the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiation.
Kerry warned in a recent interview on CBS against moving the embassy.
“You’d have an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region,” Kerry told CBS.
Trump had seemed to take into account warnings and was more circumspect when asked about the move in interviews with Britain’s Times and Germany’s Bild over the weekend.
“I don’t want to comment on that, again, but we’ll see what happens,” he told the newspapers.
One possible compromise being discussed would be to move the office of the new US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, from Tel Aviv to the US consulate in West Jerusalem.
Trump nominated Friedman, a staunchly pro-Israel bankruptcy lawyer who opposes the two-state solution, to be the next ambassador in December.
The final status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel considers the Jerusalem — including East Jerusalem, the Palestinian section occupied by Israel since 1967 and annexed in 1980 — as its indivisible capital.
The Palestinians however want to make East Jerusalem the capital of their future state.