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Nikki Haley not the world's 'schoolmarm': Palestinian official

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers keynote remarks at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas 48th Annual Washington Conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A senior Palestinian official on Wednesday criticized U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and her pledge to “take names” of countries that do not back Washington, saying she had not been appointed “the schoolmarm of the world.”

Haley first warned she would “take names” when she arrived at the United Nations in January last year. She reiterated it ahead of a U.N. General Assembly vote in December when more than 120 countries voted for a resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“She threatened and she pressured and she used coercion and so on at the U.N., particularly by taking down names. I don’t think people appointed her the schoolmarm of the world,” Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official at the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told reporters at the United Nations.

The U.S. mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Ashrawi’s remarks.

As the United States opened its new embassy in contested Jerusalem on Monday, dozens of Palestinians were killed in gunfire and tear gas from Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. The U.N. Security Council met on Tuesday over the violence.

“Those who suggest that the Gaza violence has anything to do with the location of the American embassy are sorely mistaken. Rather, the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the state of Israel in any location,” Haley told the council.

Israel and the United States said Hamas - which rules Gaza - instigated the violence, an allegation denied by the militant group, which opposes Israel’s existence.

Ashrawi rejected Haley’s assessment that the opening of the U.S. embassy was not linked to the Gaza border demonstrations. Palestinian leaders have called Monday’s events a massacre, and the Israeli tactic of using live fire against the protesters has drawn worldwide concern and condemnation.

“It’s extremely difficult to find any relationship between reality and the words we hear coming out from the American representative here,” Ashrawi said.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Steve Orlofsksy