Martin Indyk quits State Department, will continue to consult

Ron Kampeas

Martin Indyk, the U.S. special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, right, shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport on Jan. 5, 2014. (Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv/Flash90)

Martin Indyk, the U.S. special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, right, shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport on Jan. 5, 2014. (Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv/Flash90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Martin Indyk is resigning as the chief U.S. negotiator for Israeli-Palestinian peace, but will continue to consult on the matter, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

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“I’m grateful for the wisdom and insight he’s brought to our collective efforts,” Kerry said in a statement.

The statement said Indyk will “continue to work closely “ with Kerry now that he has left government and returns to the Brookings Institution think tank as a vice president and director of foreign policy.

Indyk, hired last July, coordinated negotiations until they collapsed in April. Israeli officials expressed anger with Indyk for saying that Israeli settlement expansion was a principal reason for the talks’ collapse.

An official with a pro-Israel group with close ties to the State Department’s Middle East team said Indyk had been idle since the peace talks’ collapse, and said the Obama administration was waiting for the Israelis and Palestinians to initiate a new round of talks.

In the meantime, this official said, Indyk’s team was preparing a record of the recent negotiations so the next round of talks would not begin at “square one.”