Martin Indyk, who served two stints as US ambassador to Israel, was reported to be the choice of Secretary of State Kerry to serve as the mediator between Israel and the PLO in negotiations that may soon commence in Washington.
Indyk’s record as an objective mediator should be examined.
Indyk is generally looked upon as the man who planned the Oslo process that gave Yassir Arafat and the PLO armed control over most of the Palestinian Arab population.
In 1994, journalist Haim Shibi of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper reported that in 1987, Indyk had convinced more than 150 members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment that Israel should unilaterally withdraw from territories gained in 1967 Six Day War.
Indyk oversaw every step of the Oslo process with that precise policy in mind – Israel giving up land that is vital to her defense.
Indyk, during his stint as US ambassador to Israel. did not hesitate to misrepresent the intentions and policies of the PLO while doing so, obfuscating the fact that the PLO never adhered to the basic commitment it made to cancel its covenant that calls for the eradication of the Jewish state.
In September 1995, with the signing of the second Olso interim agreement at the White House, the U.S. Congress mandated that the U.S. would only be able to provide funds to the Palestinian Authority and provide diplomatic status to Arafat if the PLO covenant was finally canceled.
The PLO never did so, yet the foreign aid money kept rolling in to the Palestinian Authority.
On April 24, 1996, the PLO convened a special session of its Palestine National Council (PNC) to consider the subject of the PLO covenant cancellation.
Our news agency dispatched a Palestinian TV crew to cover that session, which turned out to be the only crew that filmed the event.
The film crew brought back a videotape that showed a lively discussion, the conclusion of which was to ratify Arafat’s suggestion that the PNC simply create a committee to “discuss” the subject.
At my own expense, I rushed the VHS copy to Ambassador Indyk for comment, but he did not respond to that request for comment.
Instead, he chose to ignore the decision of the PNC and, in moment of perjury. issued a falsified report to President Clinton and to the U.S. Congress that the PLO covenant had been canceled.
As a result of Indyk’s false report, Arafat was provided with a red carpet greeting at the White House on May 1, 1996, and the PLO was only then allowed to open an office in Washington.
The next day, however, Hebrew University Professor Yehoshua Porat, a former leader in Peace Now who ran on slot 13 on the Meretz ticket in 1992,an expert in Palestinian studies and fluent in Arabic, convened a press conference in which he shared protocols of the PNC session and the videotape which proved Arafat never canceled the PLO covenant.
But the damage was already done. Thanks to the obfuscations of Martin Indyk, Arafat and the PLO received United States diplomatic recognition and foreign aid from the U.S., which continues to this day.
In December 1998, President Clinton, finally convinced that Indyk’s 1996 covenant report was wrong, arrived in Gaza, accompanied by Indyk, where they asked for a show of hands from members of the PNC as to whether they want to cancel the PLO covenant and make peace with Israel. The real answer, however, they got the next day. Arafat’s personal spokesman, Yassir Abed Abbo, told the media that the PNC had, of course, not canceled any covenant.
Yet there is more.
In September, 2000, Dr. Uzi Landau, now a senior minister in the Israeli government, who served then as the head of the Knesset State Control Committee (the equivalent of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Governmental Affairs), took the unusual step of filing a formal complaint against United States Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.
Landau quoted the September 16, 2000 report in the Guardian of London that “the U.S. Ambassador to Israel yesterday urged Israel to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians.” Mr. Indyk said: “There is no other solution but to share the holy city… ” and Landau also noted that Ambassador Indyk was similarly quoted by the Associated Press, The Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz.
Landau went on to say that “the timing of the speech and the political context in which it was delivered leave no room for doubt that Ambassador Indyk was calling on the Government of Israel to divide Jerusalem. Indeed, the Guardian correspondent described the remarks as ‘a sharp departure from Washington orthodoxy in recent years.'”
In addition to his remarks concerning Jerusalem, Ambassador Indyk offered his views regarding secular-religious tensions in Israel and the role of the Reform and Conservative movements in Judaism. He also intimated his tacit support for Prime Minister Barak’s so-called secular revolution. As a commentator in the liberal daily Ha’aretz, noted: “readers are urged to imagine what the Americans would say if the Israeli ambassador to Washington were to come to a local religious institution and say such things.”
Landau, who has served in a ministerial post in the Israeli government that negotiated sensitive relations between the U.S. and Israel, mentioned in his letter to Clinton that he wished to “strongly protest Ambassador Indyk’s blatant interference in Israel’s internal affairs and democratic process… I am sure you would agree that it is simply unacceptable for a foreign diplomat to involve himself so provocatively in the most sensitive affairs of the country to which he is posted. If a foreign ambassador stationed in the United States were to involve himself in a domestic American policy debate regarding race relations or abortion, the subsequent outcry would not be long in coming… Ambassador Indyk’s remarks about Jerusalem are an affront to Israel, particularly since he made them in the heart of the city that he aspires to divide. By needlessly raising Arab expectations on the Jerusalem issue, rather than moderating them, Ambassador Indyk has caused inestimable damage to the peace process. It is likewise inexplicable that Ambassador Indyk would choose to interject his private religious preferences into the debate over secular-religious tensions in Israel.”
Landau made it a point even more by stating that “this is not the first time that the American Embassy in Israel has interfered in our internal affairs. In February, I wrote to you in the wake of media reports that Embassy officials were lobbying Israeli-Arab leaders regarding a possible referendum on the Golan Heights. My fear is that such interference in Israel’s affairs is rapidly becoming routine.”
Landau concluded his letter to Clinton with a “request that you recall Ambassador Indyk to the United States.”
Two months later, in early November 2000, Arafat’s Second Intifada terror campaign was getting underway, Indyk was strongly condemning Israel’s military actions against Arafat’s forces. Indyk remarked that what the Israelis had to do was to get Arafat to act against the perpetrators of the violence, such as Hamas, Tanzim gangs and the Islamic Jihad diplomatically. He did not mention that Arafat’s own Force 17 bodyguard, Preventive Security and other Palestinian Authority forces were also responsible for a considerable portion of the violence. Indyk never wanted to hold Arafat responsible when Arafat’s forces carried out terrorist activities.
In late November 2000, when Israel issued a “white paper” on intercepted intelligence from Arafat’s headquarters that showed documentary evidence that Arafat and his mainstream PLO gangs were indeed facilitating the campaign of terror, Indyk made a special trip to Jerusalem to demand that the Israeli government withdraw its report. Indyk had just reported to the U.S. Congress that the Palestinian groups organizing the terror campaign were NOT under Arafat’s control.
Eight months later, on May 21, 2001, in an address to Ben Gurion University, Indyk stuck to his guns and continued to position that Arafat and the PLO were the “U.S. colleagues in the War on Terror by telling Israel”: “What you do is you get Arafat to act against the perpetrators of the violence, Hamas, Tanzim gangs, the Islamic Jihad and you get the Israeli government to hold back the Israeli army while he does so. But that requires a great deal of energy and commitment on Arafat’s part — in very risky circumstances to take on the very angry Palestinian street — and that requires a great deal of restraint and forbearance on the part of the government of Israel.”
Indyk’s admonition to Israel to turn the other cheek when it came to Arafat became his mantra.