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Indyk: Both Sides are to Blame for Breakdown in Peace Talks

From the left, the Honorable David Ivry, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Paul D. Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Martin Indyk, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, pose for a group photo at the Pentagon, Room 3E912, Washington, D.C., Mar. 19, 2001. Photo Credit: Robert Ward

From the left, the Honorable David Ivry, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Paul D. Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Martin Indyk, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, pose for a group photo at the Pentagon, Room 3E912, Washington, D.C., Mar. 19, 2001. Photo Credit: Robert D. Ward

At a Washington Institute for Near East Policy conference on Thursday, May 8, U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk delivered his most recent account of what derailed the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“One problem that revealed itself in these past nine months is that the parties, although showing some flexibility in the negotiations, do not feel the pressing need to make the gut-wrenching compromises necessary to achieve peace,” Indyk said.

Both sides were responsible for the end of negotiations according to Indyk, who strongly condemned Israel’s settlement construction activity and cited the Palestinian decision to sign the 15 treaties with international bodies as “particularly counterproductive.”

“The fact is, both the Israelis and Palestinians missed opportunities and took steps that undermined the process,” Indyk said.

There is still hope, however, that the talks will resume in the near future. Indyk cited the start-and-stop example of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s ultimately successful 1975 effort to disengage Egyptian and Israeli forces in the Sinai and added that the U.S.-Israel relationship of today is much stronger and vital than it was during Kissinger’s time.

“Only those who know it from the inside – as I have had the privilege to do – can testify to how deep and strong are the ties that now bind our two nations. When President Obama speaks with justifiable pride about those bonds as ‘unbreakable’ he means what he says.”

It is up to the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships respectively to resolve their current stumbling blocks and come back to the negotiating table. Indyk concluded his eloquent and well-balanced speech by saying, “The obvious truth is that neither Israelis nor Palestinians are going away. They must find a way to live together in peace, respecting each other, side-by-side, in two independent states. There is no other solution. The United States stands ready to assist in this task, to help the leaders take their peoples to where they have never been, but where they still dream of going.”

The full text of Indyk’s speech can be found here.

 

Author

Samantha Quint
Samantha Quint

My name is Samantha, I’m 25, and I made Aliyah in June 2013. I got my BA degree from George Washington University where I studied Jewish Studies and Middle East Studies. During my Junior year, I spent the traditional semester abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since then Israel kept pulling me back, first with a summer professional course on peacemaking in Jerusalem and the West Bank and then a move to Tel Aviv to get my MA in Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston. I have a unyielding passion for traveling, Boston sports teams, and making the people around me laugh.

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