Former U.S. ambassador and special Middle East envoy Martin Indyk warned this week that Israel’s defensive counter terror Operation Protective Edge in Gaza has — again — increased tensions between the White House and Israel.
In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Indyk said “There is currently much tension between [the US and Israel.]”
Indyk, who is Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., admitted the counter terror operation was not the only factor adversely affecting relations between the two countries, however, particularly at the executive level.
“The personal relationship between the President [Barack Obama] and the Prime Minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] has been tense for some time,” he acknowledged. But he added, “[It] has been made even more complicated due to recent events.”
Indyk lamented the self-confidence and independence displayed by Israelis, expressed via the Netanyahu government.
“I don’t remember a situation before, where right-wing Israeli politicians could disparage the United States’ leadership and yet gain popularity, and maybe it’s because they don’t seem to pay any price for it.
“But I suspect that it’s something deeper,” Indyk said. “There’s a sense that Israel has become a power in its own right, and it doesn’t need the United States as much. It’s a kind of hubris.”
Indyk is not neutral in his views on Israel. He was overheard in an upscale Washington DC bar in May ranting about Economic Minister Naftali Bennett and other Israeli leaders for “sabotaging negotiations” with the Palestinian Authority.
In a 30-minute conversation reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Indyk reportedly held Israel completely responsible for the breakdown of the nine-month talks between the PA and Israel.
He followed his rant in the bar with an accusation against Israel during an address at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).
Indyk again blamed the failure of negotiations with the PA on Israel’s ongoing construction within municipal boundaries in existing communities in its capital, Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria. There were no preconditions at the start of those talks; no freeze on construction was ever required, nor approved by any of the parties, even though it has ever been the mantra of the Palestinian Authority which claims that if only the Jews would leave those territories, there would be peace forever.
That still does not explain why the Arabs refused the partition plan offering those same regions, Jew-free, in 1947. Nor does it explain why Arabs continued to attack Israel prior to 1967, or why Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem never demanded independence as a “Palestinian State” when their lands were occupied and administered by Jordan, between 1948 and 1967.
None of which is ever raised in public discussions by US officials or Arabs about the negotiations, nor mentioned by Martin Indyk.