There is a clandestine plan by the Obama administration to pin the blame for the failure of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians on Israel, according to a recent report from the Washington Free Beacon.
The Washington Free Beacon reported:
Senior State Department officials based in Israel have sought to lay the groundwork for Israel to take the blame for talks collapsing by peddling a narrative to the Israeli press claiming that the Palestinians were outraged over Israeli settlements.
These administration officials have planted several stories in Israeli and U.S. newspapers blaming Israel for the collapse of peace talks and have additionally provided reporters with anonymous quotes slamming the Israeli government.
The website added that insiders believe the person responsible for the underhanded tactics is Middle East envoy Martin Indyk, and that the unseen media campaign allowed Secretary of State John Kerry to castigate Israel before Congress.
One senior official at a Pro-Israel organization said:
The Palestinians didn’t even know they were supposed to be abandoning negotiations because of these housing permits, which are actually old, reissued permits for areas everyone assumes will end up on the Israelis’ side of the border anyway.
He continued by stating, “Then Martin Indyk started telling anyone who would listen that in fact the Palestinians were angry over the housing issue. Eventually, the Palestinians figured out it was in their interest to echo what the Americans were saying.”
Indyk was the U.S. Ambassador to Israel under Bill Clinton. The source stated, “I’ve seen this before and see his fingerprints,” adding that there was a rumor floating in the news recently that the new Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer was failing to perform his job effectively.
A former diplomat commented, “It’s certainly in Indyk’s interest now [to undermine the Israelis], but this was a game he also used to play when he was ambassador twice.” He added that “this is part of Indyk’s playbook. There was only one person who would do this kind of thing and it’s Martin Indyk and his staff.”
Another source said Kerry is hostile to Netanyahu:
It’s one of the worst-kept secrets in Jerusalem that Kerry’s team leaks anti-Netanyahu quotes and claims to the Israeli press–not that it should be a mystery why Israeli reporters based in Israel keep producing anti-Bibi quotes from “American officials.”
He went on to offer this thought: “But just imagine the outrage if the roles were reversed and Bibi had a team on the ground in D.C. trashing Obama to the Washington Post on background.”
The senior official said that the settlements were generally accepted to be part of Israel under any agreement, and they were not an issue until Indyk made them such as the Palestinians were preparing to pull out of talks. He stated, “When talks fell apart and the State Department needed a scapegoat, of course they chose Israel, except they picked the dumbest explanation imaginable.”
The Obama administration cunningly used an Israeli announcement that there would be 700 apartments built in the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo to foment trouble for Israel, an announcement that only confirmed an earlier statement that had not provoked conflict. But Gilo is widely recognized as part of Israel.
Even Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg said in 2009 that Gilo was not an issue, when he wrote:
The building of apartments in Gilo is irrelevant to eventual disposition of Jerusalem because everyone–the Americans, the Palestinians, and the Israelis–knows that Gilo, the suburb that is the latest source of tension between Washington and Jerusalem, will undoubtedly end up in Israel as part of a negotiated solution (not that that’s ever happening, by the way.) It doesn’t matter, then, if the Israelis build 900 housing units in Gilo or 900 skyscrapers: Gilo will be kept by Israel.
The New York Times asserted on Tuesday that Gilo had “seemed a much less provocative issue,” even for the Palestinians.
Morris Amitay, former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), noting the reports that Indyk had “raced to Jerusalem” to save the peace talks, said of the Gilo issue, “To say that’s what ruined the peace process shows a complete lack of understanding on how long they’ve [the Israelis, Palestinians, and the Americans] been peace processing. … The fact Kerry is leaving it up to him [Indyk] is a sign they’ve had to give up.”