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Friday, July 04, 2014

'My career is ruined and it's all the Jooos' fault'

Perpetual 'peace processor' Martin Indyk has declared the 'peace process' dead.
The [Oslo Accords] represented the last major breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Martin Indyk told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg in his first interview since stepping down last week as the Obama administration's Mideast peace envoy. And that process is now dead, he added, at least for now.

"There is a deep loathing of each leader for the other that has built up over the years," Indyk told Goldberg at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is organized by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. "'Loathing' may be too strong [a word] for how Netanyahu feels about Abu Mazen," he later clarified, "but it's certainly the way Abu Mazen feels about Netanyahu. He refers to him as 'that man.'"
But no, Indyk doesn't blame Abu Mazen for the collapse of the 'peace process.' He blames the 'settlers.'
In the two decades since the Oslo Accords, a "a deep, deep skepticism" about negotiations has taken root among Israelis and Palestinians, particularly among younger generations for whom Oslo is a distant memory, if a memory at all. In particular, young Palestinians, who have "grown up under Israeli occupation" and "seen [Jewish] settlements grow," have jettisoned hope "that the Israelis will ever grant them their rights." The majorities on both sides that once supported a two-state solution are no more.
Deep down, even Indyk knows that Abu Bluff is to blame. And yet he still blames the 'settlements.'
Initially, Israel agreed to release more than 100 Palestinian prisoners in four stages in return for the Palestinians not signing international conventions or attempting to join UN agencies. After six months of direct negotiations between the parties, he explained, Netanyahu "moved into the zone of a possible agreement" and was prepared to make substantial concessions.

But then, beginning in mid-February, Abbas suddenly "shut down." By the time the Palestinian leader visited Obama in Washington in March, he "had checked out of the negotiations," repeatedly telling U.S. officials that he would "study" their proposals, Indyk said. Abbas later signed 15 international conventions and struck a unity deal with the Gaza-based militant group Hamas. These moves deflated the peace process.
What accounts for Abbas's about-face? The explanation, Indyk says, lies in Jewish settlement activity during the talks. The U.S. had anticipated limited activity in so-called settlement "blocks" near Israel's 1967 borders, where roughly 80 percent of Jewish settlers live.
What caught Washington off guard was the Israeli government's announcements, with each release of Palestinian prisoners, of plans for settlement units, many of which were outside the blocks. "The Israeli attitude is that's just planning," Indyk noted. "But for the Palestinians, everything that gets planned gets built. ... And the fact that the announcements were made when the prisoners were released created the impression that Abu Mazen had paid for the prisoners by accepting these settlement announcements." Netanyahu may have simply been playing domestic politics and trying to placate the Israeli right-wing, but these announcements effectively humiliated Abbas.
Indyk's implicit message appeared to be that Israel's settlement policy inflicted the most harm on the peace process: The settlement announcements undermined Abbas, who in turn walked away from the talks. At one point in the discussion, Indyk observed that Israelis who are moving to settlements for religious and nationalist reasons, especially outside the settlement blocks, "are doing great damage to Israel's future."
Martin Indyk is a bitter old man. Let's hope he doesn't visit Israel again. 

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