When Mahmoud Abbas made recognition of Israel as a Jewish state a red line I also first thought that it wasn’t really such a serious issue for the Palestinians and thus was no more than a tactical move. So that same day I picked up the phone and checked with Palestinians, including a top Palestinian pollsters, to find out that it was indeed a red line.

Martin Indyk has spent the bulk of his adult life being paid by US taxpayers to be an expert on Arab-Israeli affairs.

What do we learn about him from the following?

Question: Abbas refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Martin Indyk: We couldn’t understand why it bothered him so much. For us, the Americans, the Jewish identity of Israel is obvious. We wanted to believe that for the Palestinians this was a tactical move – they wanted to get something (in return) and that’s why they were saying ‘no.’

[Interview with Nachum Barnea – Yediot Achronot 2 May 2014,7340,L-4515821,00.html