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Ex-Envoy Indyk Flunks Obama, Mitchell on ‘Mideast 101’

Former US envoy to Israel Martin Indyk backed Obama for president. A year later, he gives him and George Mitchell failing marks in the Middle East
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/25/2009, 1:46 PM / Last Update: 11/25/2009, 2:04 PM

Flash 90

Martin Indyk, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, has joined a growing number of people who backed Barack Obama for president and now criticize him. Both President Obama and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell have failed in the Middle East, Indyk said in an Omaha, Nebraska forum.

Indyk, a Jew born in England, told Der Spiegel last January, “We have to be less naïve and more humble. I am sure Obama has understood that.”

Today, less than a year later, Indyk is sounding a different tune. “It’s clear that things are not going as he planned,” Indyk said at the Nebraska forum. He explained that President Obama counted on the support of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, who rebuffed the overtures for even a minor compromise regarding the 2002 Saudi initiative.

The king’s proposal was for a “normalization” of relations with Israel in exchange for a total surrender of all land liberated in 1967, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, and the immigration of several million foreign Arabs into what would remain of Israel.

Indyk also failed the president and Mitchell for focusing on trying to freeze building for Jews in Judea and Samaria. The former ambassador said that they violated a basic rule in negotiations in the Middle East: don’t get bogged down in details.

“George Mitchell didn’t hear that sucking sound,” Indyk added.