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.
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.)