"The Cabinet vote took place ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas later in the day. The two men were trying to break a deadlock in preparations for the U.S.-hosted peace summit, which is expected to take place in Annapolis, Md., next week.
Israel sees the conference primarily as a ceremonial launching pad for new peace efforts, while the Palestinians want a more detailed plan for how post-conference talks will proceed.
Seeking to drum up support for the conference, Olmert is heading to Egypt on Tuesday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak, his office said. Arab League members are to decide on Friday whether they will join the gathering. High-level Arab attendance is seen as crucial to the success of nascent peace moves." Yahoo News
Once again, we are presented with the inability of these parties to the Palestinian-Israeli struggle to accept or even comprehend the difference in approach of the other side.
The Israelis want to see the Annapolis meeting as an event in which the Americans make the Palestinians available for a free-flowing give and take that leads to an agreement that is some sort of compromise.
The Palestinians see the process as one in which the American super-power gives its blessing to the rough outline of what a final settlement will be.
In pursuit of that vision, the Palestinians want there to be a document agreed on between them and the Israelis which gives the shape of what the final settlement will be and they want it in advance. Anything else they see as merely another trick.
As though to make any agreement even more difficult, Olmert’s government wants the Palestinians to make a public statement re-newing their previous de facto recognition of the existence of Israel. In this new statement they want a specific acceptance of Israel’s nature as a Jewish state. This is very difficult for the Paelstinians since their aspiration for their own state is for a government that is, at least in theory, religiously neutral.
Bottom Line: Annapolis will amount to very little.
If the parties want to move forward towards a state of existence in which everyone can live reasonably, then they must give up their maximalist positions, accept the idea of a series of truces (hudna), and engage Egypt and other regional "players" in dealing with the extremists among the Palestinians.
Even then, progress toward any kind of real Peace will be slow. Struggle of this sort between two peoples for the possession of a single piece of land are not solved until the fires of competitive inter-communal feeling are burned out through struggle. My sense of this is that the two peoples have not reached that level of emotional surfeit. pl