Justice Minister Tzipi Livni praised outgoing US special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations Martin Indyk Saturday for his role in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“He has a deep understanding of the peace process and its importance to the future of Israel,” she said, according to Israeli news source Ynet. “Indyk worked intensively during the last round of talks and is committed to the process.”
Livni was the lead negotiator for the Israeli side in the most recent round of negotiations with the Palestinians before efforts broke down in late April.
Her positive words for the American diplomat were in marked contrast to reported comments by Israeli officials, who said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants nothing more to do with Indyk. The US envoy announced his resignation Friday.
As far as Netanyahu is concerned, Indyk “is burned,” the Channel 10 report said, quoting an unnamed Israeli official.
According to the report, the prime minister’s displeasure with Indyk, who is also a former US ambassador to Israel, stemmed less from the US envoy’s role in the collapsed peace talks, and more from his comments in the weeks since those talks fell apart in April. Netanyahu feels Indyk placed disproportionate blame on Israel for the failure of the US-led nine-month peace effort, overly highlighting Netanyahu’s settlement-building activity, and neglected to emphasize the Palestinian role in the collapse of the negotiations.
In a speech at the Washington Institute shortly after talks broke down this spring, Indyk criticized both sides for the failed peace talks.
That same month, a Yedioth Ahronoth feature, reportedly based on a briefing by Indyk, quoted unnamed US officials offering a withering assessment of Netanyahu’s handling of the negotiations, indicated that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had completely given up on the prospect of a negotiated solution, and warned Israel that the Palestinians will achieve statehood come what may — either via international organizations or through violence.
The officials highlighted Netanyahu’s ongoing settlement construction as the issue “largely to blame” for the failure of Kerry’s July 2013-April 2014 effort to broker a permanent peace accord.