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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Indyk: Livni told Abu Mazen to reject Olmert's offer

Remember that Jackson Diehl column last May in which he described the deal that Ehud Olmert offered Abu Mazen, which Abu Mazen turned down saying he would wait for the United States to 'deliver' Israel? Well, here's a strange twist on it. At a session at the Presidents' Conference on Thursday, former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk claimed that Abu Mazen turned down the deal on the advice of none other than current opposition leader and then foreign minister Tzipi Livni. Livni denied the story.
In a discussion at President Shimon Peres's 'Facing Tomorrow' Presidential Conference 2009 in Jerusalem, Indyk said that the Palestinians should not be blamed for rejecting Olmert's peace offer, because of his unstable political situation at the time, Army Radio reported.

Later in the day, Indyk clarified that he was not in the room when the incident took place.

"I was not present at the negotiating table but heard accounts from several sources," Indyk said in a statement quoted by Army Radio. "I don't believe Livni insinuated to the Palestinians that their situation would improve if they rejected Olmert's offer," the former US ambassador to Israel reportedly said.

When asked by Channel 2 reporter Udi Segal, who was hosting the panel, whether the Palestinians missed an opportunity when they rejected Olmert's proposal, Indyk had reportedly replied that "the prime minister was about to have an indictment filed against him and the foreign minister herself specifically told both the Americans and the Palestinians: Don't you dare sign the agreement."
Livni said on Thursday that when the offer was publicly announced in May, she said that she had not supported it at the time. Olmert was desperate for an agreement to leave him a non-criminal legacy. And while it is questionable whether Olmert could have followed through on the deal, if he had left a signed agreement it would have been difficult for Netanyahu (or Livni, as she assumed would be the case) to ignore it, especially if it had somehow gotten cabinet approval.

This story is likely true, but it doesn't absolve the 'Palestinians' from political stupidity and it doesn't mean that Livni was trying to either help or trick them.

How Indyk, who was in no official capacity at the time and who was not present at the meeting, found out about it, is a separate question.


At 6:33 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The point is the Palestinians never replied to Olmert's offer and at any rate its just of historical interest now since they're not ready for peace with Israel for the foreseeable future. The blame for the missed opportunity rightly rests not with Israel but with the Palestinians who chose not to take it up when it was on the table.

At 9:11 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Speaking of Tzipi Livni. Here is a Flying Pigs Moment. She apologized for voting in favor of the Disengagement:

Livni Apologizes For Vote In Favor Of Disengagement

It took only four years to prove Kadima wrong.

Flying Pigs Moment indeed. Heh

At 1:04 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


That's Limor Livnat (who is still in the Likud and is very close to Netanyahu) and not Tzipi Livni, who is the opposition leader and was very close to Sharon. They are rivals.

At 1:19 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - my mistake. Sorry about that. I did see a report about Livni touring ex Gaza communities. Its gratifying to hear Livnat apologize for her Disengagement vote.

Will Livni follow suit? I guess we'll have to see. More Israelis are acknowledging the Disengagement wasn't a blessing after all.


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