Two days after Martin Indyk resigned as the Obama Administration’s chief negotiator in the American Israeli-Palestinian peace effort, and one day after 16 year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Kder was found murdered in a Jerusalem forest, Ambassador Indyk spoke with the Atlantic Magazine’s Jeffrey Goldberg at the Aspen Ideas Festival - http://www.aspenideas.org/session/conversation-us-special-envoy-israeli%E2%80%93palestinian-negotiations-0
The Indyk conversation was reported widely after it took place, but listening to Ambassador Indyk reveals far more about the internal dynamics between the American, Israeli and Palestinian leaders than any third-person account, and so it is worth our listening to the hour-long conversation in its entirety.
Jeffrey Goldberg was an able, direct and aggressive questioner. The following were among the issues addressed:
• Why the Kerry Initiative really broke down
• What were Kerry’s broader foreign policy priorities
• What were the foundational demands of both Israel and the Palestinians
• How the relationship between Bibi and Abu Mazen undermined the talks
• What the PA and Israeli security forces cooperation suggests
• What Bibi’s statement means for peace when he said that Israel will not give up control of territory west of the Jordan River for 30 to 40 years
• What Abu Mazen believes about Israel’s right to exist, non-violence, refugees, Jerusalem, a demilitarized West Bank, and an end-of-conflict agreement
• How the education of Palestinian children to hate Jews and Israelis is a problem, but not an insurmountable one
• What we might expect of the Palestinians’ attitude towards Israel when the occupation ends
• What the young generation of Palestinians really wants
• Why ideological settlements are a serious obstacle in the negotiations
• Whether these negotiations were the last chance for peace
On the Egyptian Cease-Fire Proposal and J Street’s Statement on the Current Crisis
Following the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, accepted by the Israeli Cabinet, the United States and the Palestinian Authority, and rejected by Hamas, Isaac Herzog, the head of Israel’s Labor Party and leader of the opposition in Parliament, said:
"If the cease-fire doesn’t lead to forward movement in the peace process it is useless.”
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said:
“This initiative means kneeling and submissiveness and so we completely refuse it and to us, it's not worth the ink used in writing it.”
American Jewish Organizations Response to the Crisis and J Street
Given the black and white reaction of many American Jewish organizations to the current Israeli-Hamas crisis (i.e. ‘you are either with us or against us’), J Street issued a statement condemning unconditionally Hamas’ terrorism and its targeting of Israeli civilian population centers and added a series of "ands" in order to reflect a more nuanced and complete response to this crisis and the events leading up to it.
Note: I serve as a national co-chair of the J Street Rabbinic Cabinet representing 800 rabbis and cantors from across the American Jewish religious streams. I was consulted on the statement before it was released, and I supported it without hesitation.
J Street Statement on the Current Crisis