The US blocks former Palestinian PM from United Nations mission

UNITED NATIONS The United States objected on Friday to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' choice of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad as the body's new representative to Libya.

It was unclear whether Haley's objection had ended Fayyad's candidacy.

"Nowhere has the UN's failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel", Haley told USA senators during her confirmation hearing last month.

Furthermore, Ambassador Haley reiterated that the United States "does not now recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nation".

Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan, reporting from NY, said the "very strong statement" by the USA ambassador had surprised many.

Haley said the United States was "disappointed" to see the letter from Guterres, his first appointment of an envoy to a major conflict area.

However, the US Ambassador said, Palestine is a non-member observer state at the United Nations and its independence has been recognized by 137 of the 193 UN member nations.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Palestine-focused Electronic Intifada website, called the U.S. move "bizarre".

United Nations diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press news agency that Fayyad was well-respected for his work in reforming the Palestinian Authority and revitalising the Palestinian economy.

Mr Fayyad, who served as the Palestinian Authority's Prime Minister from 2007 to 2013, studied in Texas and was formerly a university professor in Jordan and worked for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Her statement came ahead of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting at the White House with USA president Donald Trump on February 15, and was welcomed by Israelis.

"The new Administration proved once again that it stands firmly alongside the State of Israel in the global arena and in the UN in particular", Danon said, adding that "the new administration is working towards the joint interest of the United States, Israel and the special alliance between our two nations".

In a shift from his previous hardine support for Israeli policies, Trump told a Hebrew-language newspaper that he did not believe Israeli settlement expansion was "good for peace".

Israel's settlements in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, have been declared illegal by the United Nations, and have been a stumbling block in talks.

  • Leroy Wright