U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has appointed former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, 62, to guide the Israel-PA final status talks that begin Monday night in Washington D.C.
With the directive that both parties should reach “reasonable compromises on tough, complicated, emotional and symbolic issues,” Kerry emphasized in a briefing with journalists Monday that “reasonable compromises have to be a keystone of all this effort.
The appointment came less than 24 hours after Israeli government ministers reached a painful agreement to free 104 terrorist prisoners, all of whom are serving life sentences for murder, and who have Jewish “blood on their hands.”
The Cabinet vote was not unanimous, with seven voting against and two abstentions, while hundreds of outraged and heartbroken family members of terror victims protested outside the government offices where the vote was taken.
The demonstrations have continued with no sign of stopping, and with parallel protests, ironically, in the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah, located in Samaria (Shomron), where PA Arabs are equally incensed simply at the idea of negotiations with Israel taking place at all.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which officially will negotiate on behalf of the PA, also was informed on Monday that it holds no right to negotiate on behalf of the PA entity, inasmuch as its member factions did not all support the talks with Israel: the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a leftist terror organization expressed its opposition to the negotiations late Monday afternoon.
Nevertheless, the negotiating team for the PA appeared on schedule in the United States, as did the representatives for Israel.
Former Ambassador Indyk, said Kerry, “knows what has worked and he knows what hasn’t worked, and he knows how important it is to get this right,” the secretary told journalists at the State Department. “Ambassador Indyk is realistic. He understands that Israeli-Palestinian peace will not come easily and will not happen overnight.
Indyk thanked President Barack Obama and Kerry for “entrusting me with the mission of helping you take this breakthrough and turn it into a full-fledged Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. It is a daunting and humbling challenge, but one that I cannot desist from,” he said.
Many Israelis believe that Indyk is incapable of being the "honest broker" he claims to be. Indyk is the co-chairman of the controversial New Israel Fund, which funds a wide range of far-left and anti-Israel groups in Israel and abroad. The NIF was infamously found to have sponsored left-wing Israeli organizations that provided 92% of the Israel-based quotes which appeared in the Goldstone Report – a United Nations report on Israel's "Cast Lead" counter-terrorism operation which was slammed as one-sided and defamatory of Israel.
Indyk participated in the failed 2000 Camp David peace talks between former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and was former President Bill Clinton’s US Ambassador to Israel.