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US ambassador to UN vows to defend Israel

Nikki Haley vowed to defend Israel at the United Nations [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 June, 2017

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President Donald Trump's ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley vowed on Wednesday to defend Israel at the global body.
US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley hailed a "new day" for Israel at the global body on Wednesday as she held talks with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin, Haley vowed to defend Israel at the United Nations.

"I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time," she said, according to Rivlin's office. "We are not going to let that happen anymore. 

"It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations," she added.  

In an earlier meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu welcomed Haley's tough stance, according to his office.

He said US President Donald Trump and Haley "have changed the discourse" at the UN.

"Thank you for all your help and standing up for Israel," he added.

Trump came to power promising to lead the most pro-Israel US government in history, and Haley has been a stout defender of the country since her appointment. 

On Tuesday in Geneva, Haley urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to reduce criticism of Israel and urged the body to throw out abusive regimes.

US concerns about the UN rights body predate Trump's election, and Washington has long denounced an agenda item dedicated exclusively to criticising Israel. 

It has also raised concerns about a nomination process that has seen authoritarian governments elected to one of the 47 rotating seats.

Israel is the only country with a dedicated rights council agenda item, known as Item 7. 

Israel and its allies have denounced the council for allowing majority-Muslim states to spearhead resolutions at every session denouncing abuses against the Palestinians.

Asked about Haley's remarks, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters "it would be interesting to see what parts of the UN she is referring to". 

"For the secretary-general's part, he has spoken out clearly that Israel should be treated as any other member-state in this organisation, with the same rights and responsibilities."

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