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Open recriminations begin over failure of peace talks

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Martin Indyk with Shimon Peres, photo by Mark Neiman, Israeli Government Press Office

Martin Indyk with Shimon Peres, photo by Mark Neiman, Israeli Government Press Office

It turns out there are payoffs of the failure of the Kerry negotiations. First, Israel is getting blamed for the breakdown, as it should be. It wouldn’t even announce a three-month settlement freeze in order to keep talks going.

And second, we’re seeing open and bitter recriminations on the part of Israelis, toward the Americans and Netanyahu. That’s a payoff because these statements will help separate the U.S. from the Israelis, and maybe also push Israeli society leftward.

First, from the Times of Israel, an unnamed official slams US envoy Martin Indyk for saying that Israeli settlements caused the breakdown in talks. Indyk is a hypocrite!

A senior Israeli official familiar with Israeli-Palestinian peace talks lashed out at US special envoy Martin Indyk on Friday over the latter’s “hypocrisy” for singling out settlement construction as a major factor for the talks’ collapse last month.

The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, claimed Indyk knew that building in the settlements would continue throughout the nine-month US-led negotiations period.

I have to believe that President Obama knew what Indyk was doing and gave him his head, anticipating just this sort of vicious reaction. And thinking, it’s good for Americans to know this is how we’re treated, at $3 billion a year. Long ago a liberal congressman told me that when you criticize the Israelis even mildly, they promptly bite the hand that feeds them. This is such a chomp.

Next, this is a few days old, but it got a lot of attention. Israeli president Shimon Peres is blaming Netanyahu for walking away from a two-state deal three years ago.

Again, the Times of Israel coverage:

President Shimon Peres said Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu torpedoed a peace deal reached covertly in 2011 with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Speaking to Channel 2 news Tuesday, Peres said that he and Abbas had essentially reached a draft agreement on “almost all issues” and that an accord was being readied, after a series of secret meetings in Jordan.

Peres said that the prime minister asked him to wait three or four days, in the hopes that Quartet Representative and former British prime minister Tony Blair could negotiate a better deal.

“The days went by and there was no better deal,” said Peres. ”Netanyahu stopped it [the potential agreement].”

I’ve been saying that American liberal Zionists are going to blame Israel for the breakdown of talks. Peace Now is doing so. Peres’s criticism will feed that process and, ultimately, foster a political crisis in Israel.

(P.S. There are folks on my side who are pulling for an Avigdor Lieberman government. I’m not, I think of all the suffering that would cause, and hope for a transformation.)

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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35 Responses

  1. Kay24 on May 10, 2014, 2:28 pm

    I think this time the blame has rested squarely on the side that refused to cooperate, kept moving the goal post, who arrogantly kept announcing more and more illegal settlements, which was detriment to those peace talks, demanded that they be recognized as a Jewish state, and found every excuse they could, to sabotage US efforts to achieve some kind of agreement between the occupier and the occupied.
    This time they cannot blame the Palestinians, as the world knew what Israel kept doing right throughout the proceedings. However, the American people are still in the dark, the zionist media of America has remained silent about just how much at fault Israel is, as usual.

    • James Canning on May 11, 2014, 1:38 pm

      I would not be surprised to hear that most American adults are not even aware negotiations had been underway.

    • FreddyV on May 12, 2014, 11:45 am

      I think that Peres letting the cat out of the bag tells us one very simple thing. The peace process isn’t a big priority for Peres, Netanyahu or Israel and why should it be? Things aren’t bad enough yet.

  2. traintosiberia on May 10, 2014, 2:34 pm

    I wonder where the Guardian ( U K) expose fit. It ha been out there for a while . It was denounced by PA for obvious reason . It showed the craven servile behavior of Abbas. It was bad deal but still the greedy hand of the settler dominated Israeli power could not agree . Is Peres regretting the inability to seize that missed opportunity of Palestine capitulation to every conditions Israeli placed on them?
    There is right wing and extreme right wing to choose from for Palestine during the American backed negotiation. It is good that it did not get anywhere.

    • Keith on May 10, 2014, 4:52 pm

      TRAINTOSIBERIA- “Is Peres regretting the inability to seize that missed opportunity of Palestine capitulation to every conditions Israeli placed on them?”

      Israel’s refusal to make peace even on its own terms can only be explained if the Israeli elites view peace itself an existential threat to the Jewish state. The Jewish state of Israel is a militarized warfare state which needs ongoing war and threat of war to survive in its present configuration, and to facilitate the future attainment of Israeli Middle East hegemonic ambitions. A similar condition exists in the US where a hyper aggressive long war is being pursued to lock in imperial neoliberal global hegemony. A peaceful solution to the Ukraine strife is not wanted and won’t be tolerated.

      • John Douglas on May 10, 2014, 7:39 pm

        I agree with TRAINTOSIBERIA that Israel is a thoroughly militarized state but I see the explanation for not reaching an agreement this time around differently. The only function for Israel of all the various peace processes was to buy time while the entire region between the river and the sea was populated with Israelis. As that process nears an end, Israel will no longer need to play the game. More and more we see them coming clean about what they think of the U.S. and of playing fair.
        As far as the U.S.’s “long war”, for example hyping the threat or “terror” or propagandizing that the Cold War just might be back, I see that not so much as seeking a hegemonic end as simply serving the interests of what Ike warned the U.S. about, the money interests of the defense and security economy.

      • Keith on May 11, 2014, 8:33 pm

        JOHN DOUGLAS- “…I see that not so much as seeking a hegemonic end as simply serving the interests of what Ike warned the U.S. about, the money interests of the defense and security economy.”

        If this was a simple case of military Keynesianism, the US would be attacking yet another defenseless Third World country such as Libya. The pivot to Asia and particularly the destabilization of the Ukraine are high stakes gambits risking potential disaster to achieve geostrategic objectives. Scott Noble discusses both neocon philosophy and Brzezinsky in regards to hostility to a re-emergent Russia:

        “The theoretical basis behind America’s treatment of post-Soviet Russia crosses party lines. Paul Wolfowitz, who served as Deputy Secretary of Defence under George W. Bush, wrote in Defence Planning Guidance (1992): “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere.”[33] Similarly, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski argued in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard that control of Eurasia – to the exclusion of Russia – is the key factor in ensuring American primacy.” (Scott Noble)

        Mike Whitney discusses how this philosophy specifically relates to the US/NATO putsch in the Ukraine:

        “This is Obama’s plan for the “New Ukraine” a fascist-ruled failed state that follows Washington’s directives and puts pressure on Russia thorough endless provocations, belligerence, and war. Ukraine will be Washington’s pit bull in the East, separating Moscow from crucial sources of revenue and thwarting efforts at greater EU-Russia economic integration. This is how Washington hopes to insert itself into Eurasia, to improve its prospects in the Great Game, and to establish global hegemony into the next century.” (Mike Whitney)

        Make no mistake, this is not MIC business-as-usual. The Godfather is seeking to destroy or control the competition during a strategic window of opportunity. Heretofore, nuclear war has been averted because the “other fellow” backed down. Washington is now counting on this continuing to occur. Eventually, that won’t happen. We are in the most dangerous period since the Cuban missile crisis where a single Soviet naval officer refused to go along with launching a nuclear armed torpedo. We are in a very unique and dangerous period of history.

  3. seafoid on May 10, 2014, 3:12 pm

    Peres is a complete fraud. He was also Israeli Prime Minister and he never stopped settlement construction either.
    They are all part of the same deluded system.
    They were never interested in 2 states- such a pity they can’t explain this credibly to the outside world.

    • Krauss on May 10, 2014, 3:32 pm

      Peres was in large part responsible for the close alliance with Apartheid South Africa, too, so let’s not forget that. He has for some reason been able to showcase a face to the world that is inconsistent with who he is. And because there is an inherent need in the Western press to find an Israeli dove, they are willing to overlook everything.

      It’s often driven by nothing else than the personal crisis of senior Jewish journalists and editors own fractured liberal Zionism, and their inherent need of trying to justify it to themselves and their own self-image as liberals, and as such they need to invent people who don’t exist to fulfill their own emotional fantasies and stave off the inevitable but uncomfortable questions.

      Because of this dynamic, expect people like Rudoren, Bronner or Peter Beinart for that matter to cling on to the 2SS myth forever. They will never give up, because that would plunge them into depression as a core part of their identity that is built on racial supremacism and colonization of another people will finally become inescapable.

  4. James Canning on May 10, 2014, 3:14 pm

    More Americans do seem to be at least vaguely aware that Israel is wrecking the peace process by growing the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank.

  5. Krauss on May 10, 2014, 3:15 pm

    Now there is open warfare on the whole “Israel spies on the US”, too.,7340,L-4518057,00.html

    Money quote:

    Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz slammed the Newsweek report […]

    Next week Steinitz will meet with Dianne Feinstein, the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Intelligence, to discuss the reports.

    So let me get this straight: a senior minister in the Israeli government is going to demand answers from a U.S. senator about a story in a newspaper who does not own nor cannot under any constitutional authority control or censor.


    Oh, and there’s this:

    A senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem said Israel would send the US a strong message over the report, even going so far as to argue that parts of it were “tainted with a whiff of anti-Semitism.”

    Honestly, who seriously thinks this is going to work this time?

    • Krauss on May 10, 2014, 3:24 pm

      All these stories just point to the fact that we are witnessing the slow but steady process of Israel being seen as a normal country in the American public discourse.

      A very, very long era is slowly coming to an end. And it wasn’t a moment too soon.
      The bad old days are soon finished, and good riddance!

    • Krauss on May 10, 2014, 3:37 pm

      Now Haaretz is jumping on the train, too, on the whole post-Newsweek story.

      It’s front page right now. This is starting to get hilarious.

      • American on May 10, 2014, 8:52 pm

        It is hilarious.
        Have any congress perps or senators held press conferences yet denouncing NewsWeek and saying its all a dirty lie about our best ally spying and stealing from us?

      • American on May 10, 2014, 10:06 pm

        NewsWeeks new owners are also very interesting.
        On August 3, 2013, IBT Media announced it had acquired Newsweek from IAC on terms that were not disclosed; the acquisition included the Newsweek brand and its online publication, but did not include The Daily Beast.[9]
        IBT Media relaunched a print edition of Newsweek on March 7, 2014


        The Christian (sorta) Owners of Newsweek and their connections

      • Krauss on May 11, 2014, 1:34 am

        The previous owner was a really old Zionist man. This just proves that media ownership matters. Would these articles have been published otherwise?

  6. seafoid on May 10, 2014, 3:28 pm

    Yossi Sarid in Ha’aretz

    “Writing in Yedioth Ahronoth, Sima Kadmon described the 40th-year memorial service for Phantom pilot Capt. Yigal Stavy, at which his sister, Nurith Stavy, asked his friends: “I want to know, did Yigal die in vain?”
    “It was a question, but she didn’t expect an answer,” wrote Kadmon. In truth, there is no need to respond, since the response is in the question, which fills us with awe and which gives the holiness to this day — and to the 23,169 casualties. Not all of them fell in wars of no choice, defending their home. If only we had not stayed silent, or were silenced, when the shooting began, if only we had not given up on asking the questions we wanted to ask in advance, so many souls would not now be bound up in the chain of speeches and flags, instead of in the chain of life.
    That is how we were taught, always and forever — to be quiet, not to ask overly painful questions. That is how we were trained to be obedient, without speaking or answering. Dear mothers and fathers: Follow the example of our patriarch, who was ordered to take his son and slaughter him. Did he ask superfluous questions? “Here I am,” he said immediately, and hurried to lay the wood in order without asking questions, and laid Isaac on the wood and took the knife and stretched forth his hand.
    No expression of resistance — forget about it, God. Nor even wonder: My God, my God, why? And this shameful behavior is still held up as a magnificent example of devotion for all generations. This disaster, when there are no longer enough rams nearby as alternative sacrifices, and even veal calves for the Independence Day barbecue have to be imported from Australia. And this is how, with a bowed head, the chain of the Binding of Isaac continues, since this is how God commanded Abraham, and this is how Abraham commanded his descendants: Follow my footsteps to Mount Moriah. God, if only we could be orphaned from you completely, and also from Abraham, yours and ours. As the prophet Isaiah says, we have all reared and brought up parents, leaders and God; and they have rebelled against us. And who is in the role of God today?
    “Did he die in vain?” his sister asks. And a bereaved father answers, like the son in the Passover Haggadah who does not know how to ask a question: “For as long as we have a state, we can remember and pass on the heritage,” we read this week in the newspaper. He was not alone, and don’t play dumb: Who among you has not heard in recent years the most terrible of questions — “What do you think, will Israel survive?” And you too ask in a whisper, and the answer is found within the question itself. “

    • a blah chick on May 10, 2014, 7:00 pm

      “I want to know, did Yigal die in vain?”

      I guess that would depend on what he thought he was fighting for. If it was to sustain a nation where Jews have their privileges preserved then no. If it was to preserve the state so it would make a lasting, just peace then yes. The ruling Jewish elites in Israel don’t want a state that will challenged their cushy lives.

    • Stephen Shenfield on May 11, 2014, 10:25 am

      In some elaborations of the story in the oral tradition Abraham does in fact express reluctance, or at least distress, at what the Tyrant of the Universe had commanded him to do, and is consoled and encouraged by none other than Isaac, the sacrificial victim.

      The oral tradition also contains a version of the story in which no ram is substituted and Isaac is sacrificed as planned. Analysis of the biblical text suggests that this was in fact the original story, which after Judaism rejected human sacrifice was edited accordingly. For example, where the biblical text talks about Abraham returning home from Mount Moriah with his slaves no mention is made of Isaac returning (the editing was not very thorough).

  7. Kay24 on May 10, 2014, 3:40 pm

    According to Haartez an Israeli Minister blames “someone” for trying to sabotage US-Israeli relations, regarding the Newsweek story on Israeli spying. I think Israel is doing a fine job of doing that by itself. There is no need to cast blame on anyone else.

  8. wes on May 10, 2014, 4:10 pm

    The p talks were a failure by those seeking instant gratification for there efforts,especially bloggers who pray for feedback between mincha and maariv,just a short pray,asking for daily deliverance so they may carry on carrying the carry.
    indeed indick has the smile of a man who has seen the light of day fade away to something dim and yellowish
    but hey the turks are back,the lebs have escaped the suicide bombers,and jordanians are about to get a name change.

    P talks.when the truth is like smoke and mirrors tell lies

  9. joemowrey on May 10, 2014, 7:48 pm

    Again, an article which suggests that Obama and crew are somehow unaware of what just happened in this latest “peace talk” charade. The unnamed official who said, “Indyk knew that building in the settlements would continue throughout the nine-month US-led negotiations period.” is certainly correct. Did any of these fraudsters go into this thing believing it to be anything other than another delaying tactic to give Israel more time to continue to ethnically cleanse Palestine? Of course, Indyk knew about the settlement expansion. That was a part of the plan from the beginning.

    IMHO, to pretend that now there is some sort of, “gosh, look what happened and how can we spin it” strategy being employed is simply naive. This is all part of a larger program which has been outlined from the get go, just as the “peace process” machinations have always been choreographed through a combined U.S. Israel effort for decades. Nothing new to report here and, as always, a mistake to assume any innocence or ignorance of this process on the part of Obama or any of the other partners in this ongoing dance of deception.

  10. radii on May 11, 2014, 1:18 am

    Phil, if you follow the virus analogy then an even more right-wing government in israel would be a good thing – the virus would burn out faster and the sickness (racism, fascism, serial war-crimes) could finally dissipate and good things might finally, finally come to be

  11. pabelmont on May 11, 2014, 7:47 am

    This moment, this spring, of I/P discontent is a time to reflect, O brothers and sisters, on what the goals of the many and various parties are and on what might move the I/P along if those goals became more focused.

    One thing we seem agreed on: left to itself alone (with continuing USA support, natch), Israel will continue the status quo, which is [a] apartheid, [b] a continuing push toward regional hegemony, [c] further settlement and land confiscation, and [d] further war. It is correctly said that Israel is a warfare state. It is also, increasingly, led by the nose by Greater Israel fans, anti-democratic religious nationalists. How big will Greater Israel be in 2050?

    Next, America has acted to change status quo. I much doubt that Obama opposed AIPAC without support from other powerful players in the USA’s Establishment/Oligarchy/Plutocracy. Sure, AIPAC pushed for status quo. And, sure, Democrats want to win elections. So the money for this change must “be there”. Maybe some big Zionist donors are backing away from maximal-AIPAC-heit.

    Finally, all the nations which have been (safely) calling for justice, international law, etc. (really, folks, read UNSC 465/1980) — whilst (IMO) hiding behind the fig-leaf of not interfering while peace process was a-processing — are now out in the open with no cover, no excuse for not acting. And their people are getting restless.

    Well, I hope it was a fig leaf and not a cover for absolute apathy. The fig-leaf is gone. BDS is here.

    So I hope for (and recommend we all work for) an international push toward the goals of UNSC-465, that is, a legally-conducted occupation. (An end to occupation would be OK too.) (A unilateral Israeli withdrawal from OPTs, including lifting siege on Gaza could be accomplished by Israel w/o a treaty.)

    A legally conducted occupation has no settlers, no wall, no settlements 9buildings).


  12. pabelmont on May 11, 2014, 7:58 am

    Off topic, what about proper sharing of Israel’s and Palestine’s oil and gas in the Mediterranean? Who owns it? How should it be split?

    Does Israel have a unilateral right to develop these resources and take all the wealth?

    Please recall that Israel has de facto military rule over all the Palestine Mandate but has a rather porous border. Treaties with Egypt and Jordan assert final borders of Israel with those countries but there is no border with Palestine, Syria, Lebanon.

    That great sucking noise I hear (or imagine) is land previously thought to be Israeli land, particularly along the coast, becoming Palestinian land in a great land transfer (to allow Israel to own the land of the big settlements). And that coastal land would give Palestine a bigger share of the oil and gas.

    Something to think about.

    • HarryLaw on May 11, 2014, 12:13 pm

      The West Bank and Gaza are occupied territory, when Iraq was occupied by the US/UK coalition UNSC Resolution 1483 of 2003 determined how Iraq’s oil should be used for the benefit of the people of Iraq.
      20/ Decides that all export sales of petroleum products, and natural gas from Iraq following the date of the adoption of this resolution shall be made consistent with prevailing International market best practices, to be audited by independent public accountants reporting to the International Advisory and Monitoring Board referred to in paragraph 12 above in order to ensure transparency, and decides further that, except as provided for in paragraph 21 below, all proceeds from such sales shall be deposited into the Development Fund for Iraq until such time as an Internationally recognized, representative government of Iraq is properly constituted.
      The Palestinians have International Law on their side, but Abbas has said he is reluctant to use the law, with an attitude like that he should not be surprised if the Israelis steal the oil, gas and water.

  13. Walid on May 11, 2014, 9:37 am

    About your OT question, the area with the gas is Gaza’s offshore. The gas there has already been contracted out to Israel’s control just before 2006 by Abbas; it may explain why Israel doesn’t tolerate anything in that zone including Palestinian fishermen. As to the WB, there’s no gas there but there is oil and Israel has served notice on the Palestinians that they will be controlling it. Already in 2013, there are signs that Israel has started diagonal drilling under the West Bank at Meged to steal Palestinian oil. It was bad enough Israel wasn’t quitting the occupation because of the Palestinians’ water, now there is oil on the WB it will make an Israeli pullout even more impossible. From MidEast Monitor in 2012:

    “When the United Nations General Assembly convenes for its annual meeting next month, the PLO/PA will make a request for “non-member state” status. Even if successful, the move would hardly be a game changer. In fact, things may get worse, not least because credible reports of the presence of oil and natural gas in the occupied Palestinian territories are set to make the conflict more explosive than ever.

    Documents obtained from Britain’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) by the Palestine Policy Network (Al-Shabaka) through a Freedom of Information Act request, confirm that there is potential for a Palestinian petroleum sector in the West Bank.

    According to Victor Kattan, Al-Shabaka’s programme director, “The new documents reveal that, in addition, Israel may be exploiting an oil field located near Ramallah within the occupied Palestinian territories. The documents also point to the possible existence of two other oil fields near Qalqilya and another near Hebron.”

    Judging from its past record, this development would make an end to Israel’s occupation much more unlikely and be yet another excuse to tighten its grip over the territories conquered in 1967. ”

    As to further north, huge reserves of gas have been discovered off Lebanon’s shores but the country is about 7 years late in getting started with its extraction and a big conflict already arising with Israel on overlapping territorial limits of the gas fields with back and forth military threats thrown at each other between Israel and Hizbullah.

    • Stephen Shenfield on May 11, 2014, 10:05 am

      It would be good if a peace agreement could stipulate that none of this gas and oil is to be extracted by anyone. Because leaving oil, gas and coal in the ground is essential to human survival. (Just dreaming…)

      • RoHa on May 11, 2014, 7:24 pm

        ” Because leaving oil, gas and coal in the ground is essential to human survival. (Just dreaming)”

        A dream of a world without electricity, clean water, advanced medical care, and all the other benefits we get from using oil, gas, and coal?

        Sounds like a nightmare. Instead of helping the third world, it would reduce the rest of us to their misery.

        Hydro-electricity and nuclear power aside, the alternatives are totally inadequate and environmentally disastrous. Biofuel production from corn pushes up food prices. The poor suffer most.

        (Of course there are environmental costs from the conventional fuels, but at least we get the benefits.)

        And please don’t witter about global warming. The mods won’t allow a real debate about that, and quite right, too. It’s off topic.

    • James Canning on May 11, 2014, 1:44 pm

      Perhpas adequate records have been kept, and will be kept, to ensure a later accounting for oil and gas belonging to Palestine but taken by Israel?

  14. NickJOCW on May 11, 2014, 10:18 am

    Looking on the bright side, the nine months seem to me to have been something of a success. The Israelis have built a lot of settlements which is all they really wanted, BDS has made vast strides, Abbas has set the UN process in motion without US opposition, and Obama has found a formula to unhinge the US from AIPAC: ‘Poof’ > Indyk > Newsweek… . None of this would have been at all possible last summer.

  15. Walid on May 11, 2014, 10:37 am

    Hard to go along with your proposal, Stephen, the countries concerned with exception to Israel are all poor. Only Israel could afford to leave these resources in the ground because of the aid it gets from the US but as we know, it’s a greedy country that continue accepting freebies while also continuing to steal other people’s natural resources. It’s ironical that the US pays for and supplies Israel with fuel for its aircraft and other military vehicles while Israel refines jet fuel and sells it to other countries for profit. Equally odd is how Israel is the only country to receive its annual cash grant from the US in a lump sum payment at the beginning of the year, that the US has to borrow to give to Israel, while all other recipients get their grants in quarterly installments in arrears. There has to be something obscene in this relationship.

    • American on May 11, 2014, 12:21 pm

      Walid says….

      ”There has to be something obscene in this relationship”>>>>

      More than obscene. Israel and their minions have the smell of swamp mud, ever fallen into some swamp mud?
      It smells like 12,000 years of decay from rotting corpses…worse odor you will ever smell.
      I’ve reached the point where if I dwell on it too hard it makes me want to take a shower to clean off.

  16. Stephen Shenfield on May 11, 2014, 6:23 pm

    Walid, do you imagine ordinary Palestinians and Lebanese (or Israelis for that matter) are going to benefit from the proceeds? Ask the Ogoni.

  17. Walid on May 12, 2014, 12:50 am

    Not very much, Stephen, ordinary people seldom do. Sad about the Ogoni. Israel starts production this year with long-term export contracts already secured with Jordan, Palestine and Egypt while Lebanon, with the bigger reserves is 7 years behind and still in the planning stages, the delay being attributed to sectarian pie-cutting.

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