Media reports that former United States Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk has been selected by the Obama administration to lead new negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority announced Friday, have elicited strong opposition, including from an Israeli deputy minister, The Algemeiner has learned.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon penned a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposing a scenario whereby Indyk would take on the pivotal role in the talks, citing the veteran politician’s chairmanship at the New Israel Fund, an organization which has been criticized for supporting organizations that seek to harm the Jewish state.
“The former ambassador, Mr. Martin Indyk, is the Chair of the International Council of the New Israel Fund which provides funding to anti-Zionist organizations that accuse Israel of war crimes,” wrote Danon in the letter.
“I request that you ask the American administration for an honest broker for these negotiations,” he demanded.
“The fact that he it is a board member of the New Israel Fund makes him an inappropriate person to be the point man of the United States for the peace talks,” said Ronen Shoval, Founder and Chairman of Im Tirtzu, a major Israeli Zionist organization that has been active in opposing the work of the NIF, “being as he (Indyk) is known to the Israeli public as someone that is related to the New Israel Fund which supports anti-Israeli organizations.”
“We call on this administration to appoint someone who is not known to have a relationship with an organization that is known as an anti Israeli organization,” he requested, adding, ”We are sure that there are plenty of worthy candidates that are not connected to the New Israel Fund.”
Shoval explained why his organization has opposed the NIF saying, “They supported organizations that falsely blamed Israel for war crimes in the Goldstone report. They are funding organizations that are trying to get Israeli soldiers and officials arrested in certain countries, and they are supporting organizations that are active in the BDS movement and Israel apartheid week.”
“We also call on other organizations that are deeply worried about the future of middle east peace to call on the administration to replace Martin Indyk,” Shoval concluded.
Earlier today State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki “denied that any decision on negotiators or envoys has been made,” reported The Times of Israel. “Psaki said that Secretary of State John Kerry is still ‘putting together the right combination of players,’ but denied that any decision on negotiators or envoys has been made,” the paper wrote.
Reached on the phone by The Algemeiner, Gail Chalef, Director of Communications for the Brookings Institute where Indyk is currently vice president and director, foreign policy declined to comment, saying that Indyk’s involvement or lack thereof had yet to be determined.
On Friday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of direct-negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and said the two sides would meet in Washington in the coming weeks.