When the onset of the Annapolis Peace Conference first arose hopes were high and all were looking forward to meeting at the peace table. Since then complications and controversies have muddied the waters and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been in the middle trying to bring all parties back to order. Many if not most Arab leaders had originally refused to attend following the release of contextual details. Egypt's bloggers can help us to understand why.
The Arab Observer
When those leaders meet, I can't help but wonder how much can they really do? The question that keeps on hitting my head without a real answer is: Is it really a matter of a leader decision to achieve peace or not? and if it is, and everyone is talking about it, then what is holding them?
Away from political and power plays, those leaders carry a burden of long history of cultural, religious and race conflict, while at the same time, carry a burden of a long future that would define the lives of two races who even if they achieved peace on papers, their history wouldn't let them to keep it at their hearts for a long time to come.
We have been there, done that, and while I would like to think that this summit can be different. With a clearer messages from all parties that they are more willing than ever to achieve peace, I can give myself the luxury of raising my hopes and pray for Al Quds (Jerusalem) to raise up again and kick off war from the hearts of this world.
Often times in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict a strong contrast between foreign media and leading newspapers appears. Sometimes that contrast is so drastic that it causes some of the Middle East's intellectuals to scratch their head as the Arabist does in his most recent post.
Reading the New York Times’ editorials on Annapolis, full of praise for “moderates” and worrying about who shook whose hand, I am reminded of why I barely read that newspaper anymore. The reporting is occasionally good, such as the very nice long feature on radicalism in northern Morocco a few days ago, but when it comes to Israel just forget about it. This piece for instance quotes, aside (current) US officials, Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross and John Bolton. Never mind the jovial hamster and his bosses.
It's fair to say the Arabs have little if no faith at all in Annapolis. That lack of hope derives from the exclusion of main issues, namely right of return, Jerusalem and the settlements. Zenobia explains her frustration.
Seriously I do not know why 16 Arab countries are going to attend the meeting , first the main countries in the meeting that will have direct talks are : Israel and the Palestinian authority representing only half of the Palestinian territories ,as the other half is under Hamas’ rule, these Arab countries agreed to stick to the Arab initiative Saudi Arabia proposed in the Beirut Arab Summit 2002, the same initiative Israel refused totally so I do not know what the rest of the Arab countries other than Syria are going to do , they have no business what so ever there , as long as the Saudis swore that they won't shake hands with Israelis at least in front of the cameras.
Understanding Annapolis is difficult enough. There are so many conflicting perspectives and few details available in conventional media. Augustus has a convenient breakdown.
–Much has been said over a long period of time about critical issues like border, refugees and Jerusalem.
–One of the truly crucial components underscoring these issues is how these states will relate to each other in practical terms concerning security and economic issues.
–We are going to do everything we can to help the parties as they try to arrive at an understanding on a wide variety of outstanding issues that must be resolved if there is to be peace and a Palestinian state.
There's no definite outcome for the peace conference but the guesses are out there and admittedly, some are much more likely than others. Until next time.