US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk took both Israel and
the Palestinians to task this week, calling on Israel to re-
order its settlement priorities, and leveling barely veiled
criticism against the Palestinians for not grasping what was
on the table at Camp David.
He cited the Palestinian rejection of former president
Clinton's parameters for peace as the reason for its
failure. The parameters proposed a settlement which would
have given the Palestinians all of Gaza; which would have
given them some 95 percent also of the West Bank, with a
territorial swap to compensate for blocs of settlements that
would be incorporated into Israel; and an independent
Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Indyk, speaking at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva after
receiving the Negev Award at its Board of Governors meeting,
emphasized that it is important to state exactly what was
being discussed, since he presumes the Palestinian
leadership did not make its public aware of what was being
offered, and what was consequently rejected.
The question the Bush administration is facing immediately
is not what can be done to achieve an agreement, but what
can we do to try to stop the fighting?
The United States can bid both sides to stop the fighting,
but as this has been tried already and produced no results,
it's clear that what's transpiring is not a traditional
Indyk likened this war to a feud--in which both sides seem
to be engaged in a tit-for-tat approach. One act of violence
produces another act of revenge. And so the cycle
He concluded that the resolution will come about when one
side or the other will decide that they have had enough of
violence and bloodshed. "[Breaking this cycle] takes the
will of leaders, and if the will to stop the violence isn't
there, then there's not a lot that outside powers can do to
Referring to the settlements, Indyk reminded the assembled
of a previous suggestion he had made on one his numerous
visits to Israel. Instead of expending efforts in settling
the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Indyk had recommended shifting
those efforts to settling the Negev.
Indyk admitted that the intensive efforts of the US to bring
about a comprehensive peace had failed but according to him
it was through no fault of theirs.
Indyk also questioned the wisdom of Sunday night's shelling
of West Bank Palestinian Preventative Security service chief
Jibril Rajoub's home in Ramallah.
Targeting those Palestinians like Rajoub, who would stop the
violence, defeats the possibilities of peace. Indyk said,
"Maybe the strategy is to encourage them to act against
their own people, but I don't imagine that there is an
example in history where such strategy has succeeded."