Reader Post: The Sting – How Kerry and Indyk Set Israel Up to Fail

john kerry martin indykMartin Indyk has been quite busy of late.

A few days ago, he gave a speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, described here.

In another case, he was identified by The Washington Free Beacon as the anonymous source for this interview in the Israeli press.

In both cases, Indyk opined that the cause of the collapse of US instigated peace talks between Israel and the PA was Israel’s settlement building. This follows Secretary Kerry’s assertion of the same before Congress in early April.

This claim, however, only serves to reveal that the US was never an impartial mediator, and that the State Department essentially knew from the beginning that talks would fail.

As far back as July of 2013, when the talks began, it was clear that there was no settlement freeze in place.  In plain English, that means that it was made clear to all parties, including the U.S. State Department, that construction of housing in the West Bank — and certainly in Jerusalem — was going to continue during the time the talks were taking place.  As we all know, what Israel offered, and the PA accepted, in place of a settlement freeze was the release of murderers of Jews from Israeli prisons.

If Indyk and Kerry truly believe that West Bank construction is a legitimate reason for the Palestinians to torpedo the talks, then they must admit that they knew from the beginning that talks would eventually blow up.  In fact, this is essentially what the “anonymous source” told Nahum Barnea:

Q: Let’s go back to the beginning. Was this round not doomed for failure from day one?

“The negotiations had to start with a decision to freeze settlement construction.”

In other words, yes, the State Department had the information available from the beginning that these talks would not succeed, because the talks did not include what the US diplomats believed to be an essential condition for success.  As they knew all along that this is what would occur, it is clear that they have simply set Israel up to fail from the beginning.  Kerry et al have simply swindled Israel to pay a heavy price for negotiations that they knew were destined to fail, while setting that country up to take even more blame for a conflict that it has tried repeatedly to end.

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  • Jim from Iowa

    If you can demonstrate that the Israeli government has had a consistent, coherent West Bank policy over the past 10 years, then I might buy your argument. But it hasn’t had one. Does Israel support a two-state solution or not? Is the West Bank recognized by the Israeli government as the future home of a Palestinian state or land that was given to the Jewish people by the Almighty and not subject to any negotiated settlement? You tell me. Depending who in the Israeli government you talk to at any given time, you get a different answer. Naftali Bennet, Danny Danon, Tzipi Livni, Avigdor Lieberman all senior officials in the current Israeli government and all have different West Bank policies. So you might forgive some in the American peace delegation that they might be confused on how serious the Israelis really are about the construction of settlements in the West Bank.

    • Norman_In_New_York

      The point of the article is that Kerry waffled on the construction issue. If he had demanded a complete halt at the beginning, the Israeli government, after much deliberation, would either have complied or told him to take his diplomacy to a place where the sun doesn’t shine.

      • ahad_ha_amoratsim

        Allowing the construction was the price of Israel agreeing to release the murderers. But Indyk, Kerry and the organized thugs they support called the PA want to have it both ways.

    • unpluggged

      Why do you believe it is at all acceptable for any foreign body, let alone Obama’s administration, to meddle into internal issues of a sovereign state? Obama takes it for granted that he apparently entitled to poke his nose into other countries’ affairs, while in reality he has no moral nor legal right to do that. You see, Israel is not your 51st state. Neither is any other country in the world. But you Americans seem to have difficulties understanding that.

      • Jim from Iowa

        No one is putting a gun to Bibi’s head demanding that the Americans impose a peace plan on the Israelis. Americans have been involved because we are still seen as the indispensable nation to facilitate a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. If Bibi’s government doesn’t want us involved, he should tell Obama to go take a hike. He hasn’t done that, nor will he.

        • Steve Loeb

          Netanyahu can’t do it because the vast majority of Israelis see themselves as about as close to Americans as it gets. He also does it because Obama has consistently promised to talk action in Iran if Iran doesn’t agree to what was initially discussed. So Netanyahu went along with it – but now its obvious Obama will never take any action – ANYWHERE and Israel is on its own. Since this new onslaught using the US press i.e. Newsweek to spread lies in hopes of ginning up resentment of Israel in the US, you may very well see Israeli opinion beginning to shift NOT on America or Americans but seriously in regard to Obama where they merely mirror what everyone else around the world are saying – that Obama is a spineless weakling that is severely damaging US stature and credibility EVERYWHERE

        • ahad_ha_amoratsim

          Obama has come pretty close to putting a gun to Israel’s head.

          Nice little Iron Dome you have there; be a shame if you couldn’t buy ammunition for it.

          And it would be a real shame if we stopped vetoing one-sided defamatory resolutions after our UN representative endorses the substance of the resolution and then vetoes it as true but ‘not helpful’.

    • cba

      Do you believe that Israel should not have the right to build in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem? Do you believe that Israel should not have the right to build in suburbs of Jerusalem, if they fall on the wrong side of the 1949 Armistice Line?

    • cba

      Do you believe that Israel should not have the right to build in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem? Do you believe that Israel should not have the right to build in suburbs of Jerusalem, if they fall on the wrong side of the 1949 Armistice Line?

      • Jim from Iowa

        Wherever the Israelis decide to actually build should be an integral part of a comprehensive and coherent plan that can implemented in conjunction with a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians. Personally, I would like to see all of Jerusalem under the jurisdiction of Israeli authorities.

        • cba

          “Personally, I would like to see all of Jerusalem under the jurisdiction of Israeli authorities”
          As would I.

          Since Israel has officially annexed the bit of Jerusalem that was under Jordanian occupation for 19 years and offered citizenship to anyone living in those areas (some of whom took up the offer and some of whom didn’t), I think I’m fairly safe in saying our wishes in this respect are likely to fulfilled :)

    • Inessa

      I think the point of the article is that a settlement freeze as a precondition to negotiations was not accepted by Israel, with full knowledge of US, and instead the agreement included release of heinous prisoners, which Israel did as agreed. So, for the US to then claim settlement building as a main cause of negotiations breaking down is dishonest and is tantamount to the US having set Israel up. The end result is that Palestenians have risked nothing, sacrificed nothing, incitement to hate and murder continues, no recognition of a Jewish state, no dropping of right of return, while amoral, unrepentant murderers have walked free and have received their inflated salaries (funded by your tax dollars).

      • Steve Loeb

        Sounds familiar – the US has done exactly the same with Iran now as well. Just as sanctions began to impact, this Obama administration lobbied to remove some of those sanctions. Remember the Obama campaign promise was a nuclear weaponized Iran was unacceptable – and now that has changed to an Iran on the threshold of nukes would be acceptable. Israel will again be the foil and the scapegoat as the party that refuses to go along with this Obama/Kerry suicide pact

    • Art Deco

      For the time being, I’ve forgotten who said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The ‘peace process’ is an elaborate way for Mr. Kerry to spin his wheels. If he takes it seriously, he’s too much the fool to occupy the position he does.

      What Conor Cruise O’Brien said a generation ago remains true: “there is no solution; there is merely security”. If there is to be a solution, it must be the mode on both sides to harbor political goals within which there are acceptable minima which allow for a stable equilibrium between the parties; also, those on both sides who would disrupt any settlement must in number and force be below a critical mass and thus subject to successful suppression by the public authority.

      The trouble is, the acceptable minima of the parties involved do not allow for a stable equilibrium. All they allow for is day-to-day management of persistent conflict – i.e. security, not a solution. The problem the settlements pose is the contingent and eventual cost of vacating them and housing their residents elsewhere. That’s it. That will be real only if conditions for a solution emerge. Given the durability of the conflict (91 years and running), not expecting it. Too bad, but that’s the world we live in.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Indyk should be declared persona non grata after that interview.

  • Travis

    Netanyahu ought to officially “out” Indyk as the source of the anonymous quotes.

    • Jim from Iowa

      It would be much more helpful if both sides just shut the hell up about the latest failed peace process and moved on to other things.

  • mzk1_1

    “As we all know, what Israel offered, and the PA accepted, in place of a settlement freeze was the release of murderers of Jews from Israeli prisons.”
    Wait a minute. We’re the ones who suggested releasing the murderers? Netanyahu suggested it?


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