Embattled peace talks envoy Indyk goes on the record

Martin Indyk. Credit: Robert D. Ward via Wikimedia Commons.

A report by Haaretz earlier this week pegged Martin Indyk, U.S. special envoy to Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations, as the anonymous "senior U.S. official" recently quoted by Yedioth Ahronoth as calling Israeli settlement construction the "primary" factor that foiled the peace talks.

"The Palestinians are tired of the status quo. They will get their state in the end—whether through violence or by turning to international organizations," the anonymous U.S. official also said.

Indyk never confirmed nor denied that he was the anonymously quoted official, but the embattled envoy—who reportedly may resign over the collapse of the peace talks—left nothing to the imagination on Thursday, slamming Israeli settlement construction on the record in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Weinberg Founders Conference. While stopping short of calling settlements the "primary" reason for the failed negotiations, Indyk said Israeli construction "had a very damaging effect, and by the way it was intended to have that damaging effect."

"The promoters of the settlement activity are the ones who were adamantly opposed to the negotiations even though they were in a government that was committed to the negotiations," he said.

Indyk also called the Palestinians' effort to unilaterally join international conventions and treaties as "Palestine" a "particularly counterproductive" move.

"It is easier for the Palestinians to sign conventions and appeal to international bodies in their supposed pursuit of justice and their rights, a process which by definition requires no compromise," he said. "It is easier for Israeli politicians to avoid tension in the governing coalition and for the Israeli people to maintain the current, comfortable status quo."

Indyk's full remarks to the Washington Institute can be read here, and here is a JNS.org op-ed on the earlier remarks rumored to be Indyk's.

Posted on May 9, 2014 .