NEWS, OPINION & EDITOR’S COMMENT: Do you know the way to Annapolis?

U.S. says to issue Annapolis invitations soon

The Annapolis conference is expected to be held at the U.S. Naval Academy on November 27, with other related meetings in Washington a day before and after.

The spokesman said Washington has had informal contacts in the last few days with the dozens of countries it hopes to include “just … letting them know that an invitation will be forthcoming in the not-too-distant future.”

“When it arrives, it will likely say here are the dates, here’s the place, and here are some of the logistical arrangements just so you can start some of your advance planning,” McCormack added, waving a copy of the invitation cable to be sent to U.S. embassies for distribution. [complete article]

EU Solana: Israel Palestine Annapolis conference successful for discussing issues

Israel Foreign Minister Livni – “I believe that the success of Annapolis is launching a process and the support of the international community and especially the support of the Arab world in these negotiations. And I would like to take this opportunity to call upon the Arab world and to say that the Palestinians need their support. It’s not for the sake of Israel, but for the sake of the peace process. Support does not mean to dictate the outcome of the negotiations or to put obstacles before Annapolis, but just to join and support the bilateral process, which is the only process.” [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — The “peace process” has become the never-ending process that ensures there will be no peace.

How to get out?

The Annapolis conference is a joke. Though not in the least funny.

Like quite a lot of political initiatives, this one too, according to all the indications, started more or less by accident. George Bush was due to make a speech. He was looking for a theme that would give it some substance. Something that would divert attention away from his fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan. Something simple, optimistic, easy to swallow.

Somehow, the idea of a “meeting” of leaders to promote the Israeli-Palestinian “process” came up. An international meeting is always nice – it looks good on television, it provides plenty of photo-opportunities, it radiates optimism. We meet, ergo we exist.

So Bush voiced the idea: a “meeting” for the promotion of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Without any preceding strategic planning, any careful preparations, anything much at all. [complete article]

Why Israel has no “right to exist” as a Jewish state

Yet again, the Annapolis meeting between Olmert and Abbas is preconditioned upon the recognition by the Palestinian side of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Indeed the “road map” should lead to, and legitimate, once and for all, the right of such a Jewish state to exist in definitive borders and in peace with its neighbours. The vision of justice, both past and future, simply has to be that of two states, one Palestinian, one Jewish, which would coexist side by side in peace and stability. Finding a formula for a reasonably just partition and separation is still the essence of what is considered to be moderate, pragmatic and fair ethos.

Thus, the really deep issues–the “core”–are conceived as the status of Jerusalem, the fate and future of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories and the viability of the future Palestinian state beside the Jewish one. The fate of the descendants of those 750000 Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed in 1948 from what is now, and would continue to be under a two-state solutions, the State of Israel, constitutes a “problem” but never an “issue” because, God forbid, to make it an issue on the table would be to threaten the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. The existence of Israel as a Jewish state must never become a core issue. That premise unites political opinion in the Jewish state, left and right and also persists as a pragmatic view of many Palestinians who would prefer some improvement to no improvement at all.Only “extremists” such as Hamas, anti-Semites, and Self-Hating Jews–terribly disturbed, misguided and detached lot–can make Israel’s existence into a core problem and in turn into a necessary issue to be debated and addressed.

The Jewish state, a supposedly potential haven for all the Jews in the world in the case a second Holocaust comes about, should be recognised as a fact on the ground blackmailed into the “never again” rhetoric. All considerations of pragmatism and reasonableness in envisioning a “peace process” to settle the ‘Israeli/Palestinian’ conflict must never destabilise the sacred status of that premise that a Jewish state has a right to exist. [complete article]

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