Martin Indyk, the former US ambassador to Israel, admits that Washington’s 2014 peace bid spearheaded by John Kerry was a “magnificent failure.”
Indyk says he tells himself that it’s “better to try and fail than not to try at all,” but, he tells the Haaretz conference, he does “heshbon nefesh” (Hebrew for soul-searching) on whether that’s true.
“The alternative to not trying is what we are facing today,” he adds.
Indyk says there are “lots of reasons it [the 2014 peace push] failed” but “the heart of the matter is trust.”
The people on both sides didn’t trust each other, they didn’t press their leaders, and the leaders themselves didn’t trust one another, he says.
Indyk draws applause when he turns to Israelis and says, “You are not victims. You are not.” He says Israelis are actors in their own fate, which means “being generous to the other side,” even if they are as “difficult” as the Palestinians.
He then moves on to call for a settlement freeze, saying such a policy decision means PA President Abbas “could be a partner tomorrow.”
Netanyahu may insist that settlements are not the problem, but from Indyk’s experience, “they are the problem.”
Indyk says he believes Netanyahu when the prime minister says he doesn’t want a binational state, but Netanyahu “can’t have it both ways.” The prime minister can’t give lip service to the two-state solution while insisting that Israel must hold on to the West Bank “for the foreseeable future,” he says.
— Marissa Newman