Martin Indyk, United States President Barack Obama's former Middle East peace envoy, said, Thursday that "distrust" between Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders is at the heart of their impasse. The veteran diplomat told the New York Times in his first interview since leaving the post last week after peace talks collapsed, "There's so much water under the bridge, so much skepticism, so much distrust and lack of confidence." He added that "the difficulties we faced were far more because of the 20 years of distrust that built up" than because of any core issues that divide the two sides.
Indyk noted that both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority agreed on the need to make peace and reach a final agreement that has remained elusive for two decades. But as time passed, "the sense of urgency wasn't there on either side." He also said, "The sense that they have to do it because otherwise they would be overthrown or their governments would fall didn't happen. It was the opposite."