US special envoy to the Middle East peace process Martin Indyk made a recent speech in Washington.
The former American Ambassador to Israel clearly stated that the sides lacked, as he put it, a sense of urgency to make peace.
Of the Palestinians Mr. Indyk was critical of the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas to create Palestinian unity, calling it the last step for the suspension of the American push for peace.
He also singled out the letters sent on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to join the fifteen international treaties – while the American Administration was seeking to get Israel to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners.
Concerning Israel, Ambassador Indyk noted what he described as “rampant settlement activity – especially in the midst of negotiations”.
Mr. Indyk feels that settlement growth not only destroys trust in the negotiations, but could also undermine Israel's stated desire for a Jewish State.
Referring to the politics in Israel, Indyk said that without brave leadership in making peace, Israel was risking becoming a “de facto binational state.”
He did say that both the Israelis and the Palestinians were flexible in their negotiations, but the core of the problem was the inability to feel the imperative to make hard compromises to get to a peace deal.
Mr. Indyk summed up quite well where things are at by saying; “It is easier for the Palestinians to sign conventions and appeal to international bodies in their supposed pursuit of 'justice' and their 'rights,' a process which by definition requires no compromise. It is easier for Israeli politicians to avoid tension in the governing coalition and for the Israeli people to maintain the current comfortable status quo.”
Middle East Correspondent