U.S. envoy to the Middle East, Martin Indyk has resigned following the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. However, the State Department says that he will remain involved in the peace effort.This past May, Israeli media reported that, according to an unnamed US official, Indyk would be leaving his duties, the negotiating team dissolved and, upon Indyk’s departure, Frank Lowenstein, a senior adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry on Middle East issues, would be receiving future contacts with the Palestinian Authority.
Indyk’s resignation had been widely expected after a comprehensive peace agreement failed to achieve success this spring, Al Ray reports, adding that he will now return to a position in the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, according to the U.S. State Department:
‘Ambassador Indyk will continue to work closely with Secretary Kerry on the Obama administration’s efforts to help Israelis and Palestinians resolve their conflict,’ an official statement announced.
‘The United States remains committed not just to the cause of peace, but to resuming the process when the parties find a path back to serious negotiations,’ Kerry said in the statement.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry mediated the long-awaited negotiations from their onset, this past season, beginning with an approval of the drafted framework agreement which included Palestinian recognition of the Jewish state.
According to an Israeli official, Kerry went on to urge King Abdullah, of Jordan, and King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, of Saudi Arabia, to talk the Palestinian leadership into recognizing Israel as a Jewish State, though the State Department has officially denied the claim.
During the peace talks with the PLO, which formally ended in late April of this year, Israeli PM Netanyahu demanded recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in prerequisite to any agreement achieved therein, seeking to codify such recognition into law.
Netanyahu went on to say, soon after, that included in his legislative efforts to define Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people was a clause stating that Israeli law will be based on the Torah and Jewish tradition:
‘In the law, we will define the Talmud as the basis for the Israeli legal system,’ Netanyahu told Vider, adding that the law “is a very important one that will affect how Israel looks in the future.”
(The Talmud includes, among other recommendations, that ‘whosoever disobeys the rabbis deserves death and will be punished by being boiled in hot excrement in Hell’. Erubin 21b)
Towards the end of the crisis-ridden peace talks, Kerry did point out that the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist in 1988, and for them to officially accept Israel as a Jewish state would be tantamount to negotiations.
Kerry appointed Indyk as his envoy to U.S.-led peace negotiations that he launched last July, and PM Netanyahu suspended the talks on April 24 after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas forged an unexpected unity pact between formerly divergent Palestinian political parties.
The demise of the talks was hallmarked by the Israeli state reneging on the promised release of 104 Palestinians held since before the 1993 Oslo peace accords, in exchange for Palestinians not pressing their statehood claims at the United Nations.
Comments on the negotiations in May, envoy Indyk said that neither side had the stomach to make necessary compromises, singling out illegal Jewish settlements in particular as the main obstacle.
To the contrary, in August of 2013, Kerry said of the Israeli decision to build hundreds of units in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that Israel “only announced bids”, and that he did not believe that the announcement would harm political talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
In the final acts of the ensuing political theater which revolved around the so-called ‘peace talks’, Kerry reversed his official opinion regarding illegal Israeli settlements, drawing much criticism from Israeli officials.
Despite official reports of a ditch, at least temporarily, by Secretary of State Kerry in maintaining efforts to intervene in Middle Eastern affairs, he appears once again to have reclaimed a saddle in the endeavour.