Ambassador Martin Indyk. Photo: REUTERSI couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that someone had actually written an entire article in The Jerusalem Post last Friday in an effort to discredit one of Israel’s most prominent friends, Martin Indyk. The article by Isi Leibler even specifically stated that Indyk was unfit to act as a mediator between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Then I thought, maybe this was a sophisticated stunt to strengthen this important appointment: If the Palestinians see that someone from Israel’s far Right opposes the Indyk appointment, maybe they in turn will support him.
The only conclusion I could reach was that if someone is unwilling to pay the price for peace, no broker will ever be acceptable.
As a matter of fact, I thought that the Palestinians would have been the ones hesitating to accept a new mediator. After all, Indyk lived for quite some time in Israel, worked for AIPAC (which the Palestinians fear more than any other organization) and headed the Washington Institute which is considered a right-wing supporter of US and Israeli politics, he served as US ambassador to Israel twice and is perceived to be one its biggest supporters.
In his roles as both ambassador and vice president and director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, Indyk has only expressed views that are completely in line with positions held by US administrations over the years, including regarding settlements and other topics outlined by president Bill Clinton in 2000.
What kind of mediator would right-wing activists prefer to see handle the upcoming talks? An Israeli settler who opposes giving up even one inch of land and the creation of a Palestinian state? Or someone who is not willing even to admit that there is a Palestinian refugee problem, or does not understand that the refugee camps in Shuafat and Kalandiya are not really part of Jerusalem despite the fact that they were annexed by Israel in 1967? Dr. Martin Indyk is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world about this complicated story otherwise known as the Israeli-Palestinian or Israeli- Arab conflict. He is very close to the Israeli side, but understands the Palestinian side well too. He believes that peace and good neighborliness are in the national interests of both sides.
In addition, Indyk understands the proposed solutions better than anyone else. He knows who the players are on both sides and also how to get people to connect with each other and find solutions. Anyone who is interested in seeing progress on the peace front should welcome the arrival of Indyk on the scene. And anyone who is fearful that we might actually reach a peace agreement, should be worried that Indyk just might succeed.
Yossi Beilin is the architect of the Oslo Accords, which he initiated in 1992 during his time as deputy foreign minister. He has served in several ministerial positions in the cabinets of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak.