Martin Indyk, the American negotiator in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), reportedly went on a "nasty" rant blaming the Jewish state for the talks' failure in a conversation in an upscale Washington DC bar last Thursday.
A person who overheard the conversation told Washington Free Beacon that the 30-minute-long tirade included Indyk, his wife Gahl Burt, and several members of his staff. It took place right after he spoke at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), where he openly blamed Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria for the failure of the talks, despite the fact that a freeze of such building was not a precondition of talks.
"The tone was nasty," said the source, adding Indyk et al "openly blamed" Economics Minister Naftali Bennett and others for "sabotaging the negotiations" by issuing construction permits.
On the other side, the PA, which torpedoed talks by breaching conditions in a unilateral request to join 15 international conventions and by signing a unity deal with the terrorist group Hamas, was held guilt-free.
“In the 30-minute conversation, no one at the table mentioned a single wrong thing the Palestinians had done. There was no self-criticism whatsoever," said the source.
In fact, Indyk and his staff reportedly said Abbas's breach of talk conditions was not the cause of the breakdown of talks, saying the talks had been led to a dead-end "way before that due to settlements."
"Supposed public even-handedness was absolutely gone in private"
“The staff relished how critical Indyk was of Israel in public speech,” the source added, referring to the speech Indyk gave the same night at WINEP. “They laughed about it.”
Indyk's wife and staff "took pleasure in Indyk’s public bashing of Israel in his speech,” said the source. “Whatever supposed even-handedness there was in public...was absolutely gone in private.”
Indyk's crew then blamed Israel for Gaza's energy crisis, which last November left the Hamas-enclave flooded in sewage due to an Egyptian siege that cut off illegal smuggling routes into the Sinai that brought in gas and weapons.
According to Indyk and those with him, Israel has diverted clean water to "settlements," letting the sewage flow into Arab-held areas. The source noted that Indyk's wife Burt expressed particular anger over the subject.
They went on to say that during talks they hoped to focus on technical issues regarding electricity and water, “but that they get tied up into politics."
Indyk then reportedly noted meeting Daily Beast reported Josh Rogin earlier in the evening. Rogin in late April caught US Secretary of State John Kerry on tape warning that Israel could become an apartheid state if it didn't make peace soon. Indyk "openly disparaged" Rogin, saying in indignation "what nerve" it was to leak comments made in a closed-door meeting.
The source relates that Indyk then left his crew when former Prime Minister Ehud Barak entered the bar for an hour-long discussion that had been pre-arranged.
Denials from State Department
State Department spokesperson Marie Harf was quick to deny the damning reports.
“What you’ve heard is categorically false. It didn’t happen, period. After Ambassador Indyk gave a public speech where he said both sides were responsible for the breakdown in talks, he spent five minutes chatting with his team - and did not say one word about Israel," claimed Harf.
“That was it. What your secondhand source has told you is just not true,” Harf added.
However, some senators have openly expressed shock over the public statements attacking Israel made by Indyk and other members of US President Barack Obama's administration. Obama himself holds Israeli "settlements" responsible for the failure of talks, according to a senior US official whose was quoted in the New York Times last Friday.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told Washington Free Beacon that "since the latest round of peace talks began over nine months ago, we’ve seen a not so subtle attempt by the [Obama] Administration, through the media, to browbeat Israel into more and more concessions and to shift the onus of the outcome of the negotiations on the Israelis while giving a pass to [Abbas’s] intransigence."
Indeed, Kerry last August acknowledged that Israeli construction announcements for Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem was expected and should not effect the talks.
“Instead of forcing further rounds of negotiations, President Obama and his team should first focus on reforming the Palestinian Authority which has been plagued with corruption, waste and the inability to govern effectively in order to lay even the most basic foundations for any future state, and they must convince the PA to abandon all notions of a unity deal with the terrorist group, Hamas,” Ros-Lehtinen added.
Indyk's position as the US's mediator in talks between Israel and the PA had been questioned from the very start, after it was revealed that he is a board member of the extreme-left New Israel Fund.
The mediator was named by Israeli sources two weeks ago as the "senior White House official" in a Yediot Aharonot report who blamed Israel for the failure of peace talks.
In the article, the official claimed that "the main act of sabotage on peace talks was from the settlements" and said that "Netanyahu would not yield an inch" for peace.