Martin Indyk discusses the recently leaked Palestine Papers and what they mean for the future of the peace process in an interview with Independent Television News, Channel 4.
ITN: Do the documents show that there has, in fact, been no Middle East peace process?
Martin Indyk: No, I actually have a contradictory view on that. I believe what they show is that the deal is there to be done, but that it wasn’t done in 2008, which these documents are all about. This had to do with the fact that Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel, who was negotiating with Abu Mazen, the Palestinian leader at the time, was indicted and taken out, for reasons that have nothing to do with the peace process. Therefore, there was not a chance to consummate the deal. But, it’s clear from these documents that they were very close. Now, in order to get a deal, and I think this is not commonly understood, particularly in the Arab world, the compromise has to be made on both sides.
ITN: And yet, people further away from the talks would read this, and many do read this, as an account of a process in which the Palestinians appear to give an extraordinary amount of ground and the Israelis, in the end, were not prepared to do a deal, largely because of very small issues.
Martin Indyk: That’s just simply not the case. And if people read all the documents that were put up on the Guardian website last night they will see a summary of Olmert, the then prime minister’s offer, and it’s the Palestinian’s account of the Israeli position and it shows Olmert basically willing to meet the Palestinian requirements when it comes to territory, by the difference of a few percentage points that still needed to be negotiated. And in Jerusalem, the Palestinians would have had sovereignty in all the Arab suburbs of East Jerusalem, something which they’ve never had in their history, and have no way of getting in the future unless they do a negotiation which leads Israel to have sovereignty over the Jewish suburbs.