The peace process from the inside

September 29, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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Over 300 people recently attended a talk in Sydney by Ambassador Martin Indyk for the New Israel Fund, addressing the topic, “The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process – From Inside the Negotiating Room.”

Liam Getreu, Illa and Martin Indyk

Liam Getreu, NIF Australia president Ilana Snyder and Martin Indyk

For 35 years Indyk has worked to further peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours, most recently as US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, twice as US Ambassador to Israel, as US Assistant Secretary of State, and in roles for AIPAC, and as founder of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Indyk, NIF Australia’s co-patron with OzHarvest CEO Ronni Kahn, reflected on why the breakdown in negotiations occurred, citing the undermining of the process by a number of Israeli government ministers, the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the weakness of the Palestinian Authority, and division between the West Bank and Gaza.

Martin Indyk has a word in ECAJ president Robert Goot's ear

Martin Indyk has a word in ECAJ president Robert Goot’s ear

However, Indyk’s overarching message was the need for Israel to continue to pursue peace, despite the lack of progress made in the most recent series of talks with the Palestinians.

“Israel has to pursue peace, not for the Arabs, not for the Palestinians, but for itself… For preserving its status as a Jewish and democratic state, it has an obligation to try to resolve this conflict. Its existence as a Jewish and democratic state is threatened by the failure to resolve the conflict.

“Even if it can’t be done because the Arab side is feckless and useless and divided and weak and lacks legitimacy and doesn’t have [the Arab world’s] support, and it can’t be done for those reasons, you’ve got to be caught trying.”

Indyk also spoke about the numerous concessions both the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams have made as part of a drive towards a final status agreement:

  • that Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) has said he has no wish to flood Israel with Palestinian refugees or change Israel’s Jewish nature
  • that the Palestinian state will be demilitarised, unlike any other state in existence
  • that there will be a phased withdrawal of the Israeli military from the Palestinian state, somewhere between three years and 12-15 years

Additionally, Israelis have shown great flexibility on their starting negotiating positions, including a readiness:

  • to use the 1967 lines as the basis for negotiations, as long there are land swaps which take into account ‘facts on the ground’, that is, settlements already built
  • to accept some Palestinian refugees and provide compensation for them all
Elias Visontay and Martin Indyk

Elias Visontay and Martin Indyk

Indyk also spoke about the positive role the New Israel Fund plays in Israeli society: “The New Israel Fund is a really important organisation. We all recognise and identify with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Indeed, in my view you can’t have one without the other.

“The NIF through funding and through training NGOs in these various communities – whether it’s Orthodox women seeking divorces, or whether it’s Ethiopian Jews seeking equal rights or Arabs or Bedouins in Israel, in each case the New Israel Fund is there training and funding them to be able to advocate on their own behalf and to thereby strengthen Israeli democracy.”

Liam Getreu, Executive Director of the New Israel Fund in Australia, said the event was a remarkable success.

“It was an honour for NIF to host Martin Indyk – someone who grew up in our community and has gone on to achieve such incredible things.

“To have 300 people hear from a man who has been inside the negotiating room about the importance of Israel continuing to strive for peace and to learn about the New Israel Fund’s role in promoting a culture of tolerance and democracy was very special.”


14 Responses to “The peace process from the inside”
  1. says:

    Waste of time trying to talk sense with the likes of NIF , j street and all the left wing looney’s like Hezog,Gertru and their comrades . If it was up to them they would give away Tel Aviv
    I have come to the conclusion the left & progressives are suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome .
    If they can’t see what a future Palestine state would ever look like , Syria , Iraq ,Egypt, Libya ,Yemen
    Take your pick of any of these failed states .
    The Arabs and Muslims don’t need to worry about those pesky
    Jews they are too busy fighting amongst themselves . We can’t force the Palestinisns to give up their victim hood stadedgy in order to take a pragmatic approach and negotiate a state like any other normal ( non Muslim) group would have done years ago .
    meanwhile whilst the Arab keep fighting amongst themselves Israel keeps adding value to the world .

    • Paul Winter says:

      Michael, while you are correct in stating that it is a waste of time trying to talk sense to loonies, it is important not to abandon the public space to them. Extremists of all types – left, right, religious, environmental, etc – operate on the “my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts” basis.

      I read somewhere that in the camps, the organised extremists, got control of the levers of power: food, printing, education. These undemocratic elements are still employing that strategy as out unis and media show.

      You mentioned NIF and J-Street. I read something recently that ben Ami of J-Street used to work for the NIF. And Alon Liel, a former Israel Foreign Affairs officer, supports anti-Israel groups is the husband of NIF’s Israel director, has admitted that his gang could not get its way through democratic means. so he and his fellow extremist try other means to coerce Israelis to accept their anti-Zionist position. True ideologues all; the party line before principles!

  2. Paul Winter says:

    The article starts by stating that Indyk is the founder of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, but fails to divulge that Indyk is the Executive Vice-President of the Brookings Institution, the one that has one office in Washington and another one in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The Qataris are the paymasters of al Jazeera and ISIS and have paid $14m to Brookings.

    The NIF, an independent NGO has received $1m from the USA’s State Dept.

    The article then states as fact that the peace process broke down because of the actions of a number of Israeli ministers. Really? Who are they and what did they do to stop the peace process?

    It the asserts that another problem is the expansion of Israeli settlements. What expansion? No new “settlement” has been built for decades and they occupy only 1.7% of Judea and Samaria. The building that is going on is within the boundaries of those pioneer outposts. What the Arabs are demanding is that Jews living in those outposts of Jewish civilisation stop extending their homes, that they stop having more children to accommodate. The last time such a demand was made of Jews was by the Nazis during WW2.

    And then we read about the weakness of the PA. So if the PA is weak, why don’t they abandon their demand for a Jew free state and a return of those ancient indigenous people with TWO (!!!) years residency before 1948 in the British Mandate? Oh, and what about Gaza? But we all know what Arab weakness is: they cannot negotiate if they are too weak and when they get strong, they don’t need to negotiate.

    And Indyk states that Israel must pursue peace for its own sake. What do the so-called Palestinians need to do? They rejected peace in 2000 and 2010. IN fact they refuse to have a state if it means that Jews have one too. And it is Indyk and his ilk that keep demanding Israel offer more and more only to have the Arabs reject them.

    And then Indyk boasted of the progress made: none of it is true. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The 1967 lines Obama demanded Netanyahu accept were never realistic and they have not been killed by the USA’s support for islamists and the Iran deal betrayal. No friend of Israel would dream of an nuclear Revolutionary Guard on the Judean Heights overlooking Tel Aviv.

    And then we are treated to the wonderful work of the NIF. The organisation that was established in 1979 from the remnants of anti-Israel gangs of CONAM, Breira, New Jewish Agenda and Peace Now who came into disrepute when the lobbied against US support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War.

    The NIF’s current policy is to “oppose” global BDS, but to support boycotting items produced in the “occupied” territories. There is no occupation; the pallies have had self-government since Oslo 2 in 1995. And a partial BDS is as meaningful as a partial pregnancy.

    The NIF claims to fight to make Israel realise the aim of its declaration of independence. On what basis does a US gang decide what the declaration meant when they seem not to have read it or to have noticed that a few events have taken place since 1948.

    The clear point is that NIF’s boast that 80% of its funding goes for good causes is dissimulation. The other 20% goes to groups that defame Israel, engage in lawfare and BDS activities. The claim of doing good work is as valid as a claim that the Hitler Jugend did good deeds boy scouts do apart from murdering, beating and raping Jews. Or the good work of Al Capone who spent more money on flower than he earned.
    The goal of the NIF is to undermine Israel and Indyk gave advice to State Dept on how to intimidate Netanyahu. Indyk is no friend of Israel and the NIF is its enemy. It is held in contempt in Israel and no country other than Israel would tolerate foreign gangs NIF like meddling in its internal affairs. The NIF is a far left gang which has pretensions of intellectuality while goose-stepping along with other self-hating “progressives”.

  3. Henry Herzog says:

    Indeed; lefties, that pretty much sums it up, what more can Mr Burd and his mates say? I bet that these neo-cons didn’t even bother reading the article, but like Pavlov’s dog, responded only to the name “Indyk”. But to promote war and conflict in Israel while enjoying the safety of their homes in Toorak and elsewhere; well, that takes enormous fortitude and courage.

    • david singer says:


      I read the article – indeed I quoted from it in taking issue with some of Mr Indyk’s specific claims. Perhaps you might like to respond to my comment. I would hope Mr Indyk – or anyone else in NIF – will take the time to respond.

    • Paul Winter says:

      Henry, tomorrow I’ll get around to responding to the NIF article. At 0100 I’ll just say thi: you project your reflex hostility onto critics without reading their comments, and like Pavlov’s dogs, every time you read “leftie”, you let loose a stream of drivel.

      I too consider myself to the left of politics, but it turns my stomach to see what brainless hypocrisy emanates from the ideology bound mob that claims to represent the left. It betrays everything that the left stands for, just as the NIF betrays all its claims of supporting Israel.

  4. Liat Nagar says:

    Every time I read of anything Martin Indyk has to say I wonder what planet he inhabits. With the kind of experience he is supposed to have had, how can he make the kinds of assertions he does and hold the opinions he expresses – no matter how I think around it, I can’t work it out. What is this man’s motivation exactly? No wonder he gets on well with NIF.

    What a lot of hot air.

  5. Maxine Finberg says:

    I agree with all the previous commentators. The welfare and security of the State of Israel should be uppermost in all Jewish hearts. The NIF is a 5th column working against the interests of Israel.
    Am Israel Chai !!

  6. Michael Burd says:

    Indyk and his lefty 5 th column mates In Sydney .

  7. Leon Poddebsky says:

    The NIF could prove that it really is what it claims to be by doing even one of the following:
    1. advocate around the world for the inalienable, legitimate and legal rights of the Jewish People in The Land of Israel, rebutting the lies that abound.
    2. work to liberate Palestinian Arab society from the racist brainwashing to which it is constantly subjected by its own “elite.”
    3. work to ensure that the billions of dollars which the Palestinian Arabs receive from multiple sources are used not for enriching their leaders, for brainwashing their people or for waging war, but for improving education, health and social welfare.

    Then people might change their perception that NIF is merely a poseur and one which acts constantly to undermine legitimate Jewish rights.

  8. Cody Flecker says:

    For more decades that I care to remember, the New Israel Fund and its predecessors have championed the Two State Solution with disastrous results. This new approach by Martin Indyk is nothing new. Retreating to the suicide borders of 1967 is the hope and dream of every Israeli leftist since the end of the Six Day War. Nothing has changed in their approach. The Leftists in Israel, the USA and around the world believe that by talking rationally with the Arabs who currently occupy Israel and the Territories they will return the favor. Viewing history since 1967, this has been further than the truth. The Arabs never had negotiated in good faith, with their never ending narrative of the “Nakba” Consequently giving them land for an elusive peace is not only a joke, but a deep seated tragedy. They just refuse to even accept the State of Israel as being an entity on their own land. This refusal along with their war mongering has led to this impasse. The NIF is a joke and should be treated as such, and Mr. Indyk is the supreme jokester. Coupled that with Amos Oz who has been anti Israel in attitude, and you have the making of a fifth column that the State of Israel can least afford.

  9. Leon Poddebsky says:

    It would be useful to hear a debate between the subjects of this article on the one hand, and, on the other, Bassam Tawil, a Palestinian Arab scholar.
    Bassam Tawil, writing for “The Gatestone Institute” (September 26), stated the following about Palestinian Arab society:

    ” In reality, it is we who are the New Nazis.”
    Tawil states that his people deserves nothing, let alone a state.

    For Mr Indyk and The New Israel Fund Israel’s capitulations, in 2000 by the Ehud Barak government, and in 2008 by Ehud Olmert’s government, were insufficient.
    Those capitulations offered the Palestinian Arabs a state in almost 100% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza (oops… there I go again, using those despised Jewish toponyms.)

    Clearly what Israel must do to achieve peace is to provide the genocidal Palestinians with engineers and cement with which to build superior terror tunnels, as well as advanced rocket technology “for peaceful purposes.”
    Also peace-enhancing would be to supply Bassam Tawil’s people’s schools with additional Arabic translations of “Mein Kampf,” a respected work in the Middle East, and one which also served as a kind of “road map” for a solution to a vexing problem.
    A recent declaration by His Excellency, Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, about the hygiene of the Jews, raises the suggestion of yet another Israeli concession which would advance Mr Indyk’s cause: why not supply the Jews with soap with which to wash their dirty feet, to which His Non- Racist Excellency so stridently and publicly objected.
    Clearly, too, a very high priority is for Israel and The Jewish People to reject all of our false, mythical claims about our historical , spiritual and legal ties to The Land of Israel…ooops…correction: Palestine!
    But undoubtedly what would earn Mr Indyk a Nobel Peace Prize, and incidentally, place him in the august company of the late President Yassir Arafat, would be his success in persuading or getting the “international community” to “persuade” the Jews of Israel to evacuate the entire country.

    OR maybe what is really needed is akin to what the victorious powers did in the aftermath of their crushing defeat of Nazi Germany. That is, a denazification campaign which to a degree restored a semblance of a civilised society in the defeated aggressor state.

  10. david singer says:

    Martin Indyk proudly proclaims of the Israeli non-government organisations (NGO) funded by New Israel Fund:
    “The NIF through funding and through training NGOs in these various communities – whether it’s Orthodox women seeking divorces, or whether it’s Ethiopian Jews seeking equal rights or Arabs or Bedouins in Israel, in each case the New Israel Fund is there training and funding them to be able to advocate on their own behalf and to thereby strengthen Israeli democracy.”

    Doubtless there are many organisations worthy of such support – but there are others funded by New Israel Fund that are definitely not.

    One undeserving organisation is the “Human Rights Defender Fund” (HRDF) which received US$332625 from New Israel Fund between 2011 and 2013.

    According to NGO Monitor:

    1. HRDF Executive Director Alma Biblash, is the fund’s only documented paid employee.

    2. Biblash has referred to Israel as “racist” and “murderous,” as well as a “temporary Jewish apartheid state.”

    3. During the 2014 Gaza war, Biblash wrote a post on Facebook, demanding “end the occupation from Jordan to the sea.”

    Mr Indyk:
    1. Are you aware of these facts?
    2. Does NIF still fund HRDF?
    3. Should donations received from Jews around the world go towards paying Ms Biblash’s salary?

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