- Annapolis Conference
:"For the revolutionary legislature of the Colony of Maryland, see
Annapolis Convention (1774-1776).":"For the meeting that resulted in the United States Constitutional Convention, see Annapolis Convention (1786)"The Annapolis Conference was a Middle East peace conferenceheld on November 27, 2007, at the United States Naval Academyin Annapolis, Maryland, United States. The conference marked the first time a two-state solutionwas articulated as the mutually agreed-upon outline for addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conference ended with the issuing of a joint statement from all parties.
U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Riceorganized and hosted the conference. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and U.S. President George W. Bushattended the meeting. [" [http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6274002.html Abbas says upcoming Mideast conference 'a new beginning'] ", " People's Daily", 09-29-2007.] A partial list of over 40 invitees was released on 20 November 2007, including China, the Arab League, Russia, the European Unionand the United Nations; [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/926297.html Haaretz, 20 November 2007, Partial list of confirmed invitees to Annapolis peace summit] ] most of whom have accepted the invitation. Syriaand Saudi Arabiawere initially skeptical about participating in the conference, with Egypt, Jordanand the Palestinians meeting in Sharm el-Sheikon 22 November 2007and calling for broad Arab attendance. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/22/africa/ME-GEN-Mideast-Conference.php Egypt, Jordan, Palestinians try to sell skeptical Arabs and Islams on Annapolis conference - International Herald Tribune ] ]
Saudi Arabia initially insisted that all 'core issues' should be discussed, the most important of which are
bordersand Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and the Palestinian right of return, as a condition for Saudi participation. On 4 November 2007, P.M. Olmert declared that all core issues were on the Annapolis agenda. [ [http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/920105.html Olmert: Core issues are on the Annapolis agenda] , "Haaretz", 4 November 2007] The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Saud al-Faisal, finally announced on 23 November 2007that he would participate due to the near-Arab consensus on the summit, following an Arab League meeting in Cairo. [ [http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/927422.html Haaretz, 23 November 2007] ] On 26 November 2007, it was reported that despite his decision to attend, Saud al-Faisalhad announced that he would neither shake the hand of Ehud Olmert, nor converse with him during the summit, since he is coming for business and not for political plays, [ [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3476036,00.html Ynetnews, 26 November, 2007] ] while Ehud Olmert said that a hand shake is not necessary.Although the decision to attend by the Arab Leaguestates was supposedly a collective one, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moalleminsisted, following the League meeting, that Syria had not yet made a decision due to uncertainty over whether the issue of the Golan Heightswould be on the agenda. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071123/ap_on_re_mi_ea/arabs_mideast_conference Yahoo News] ] The rebuttal re-iterated an October 2007 declaration by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. [" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7021986.stm Assad sets conference conditions] ", BBC News, 10-01-2007.] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7043664.stm BBC News] ] Syria has, however, been given informal assurances that it will be discussed. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7108637.stm BBC News] ] On 25 November, it was announced that Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdadwould attend. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071125/ap_on_re_mi_ea/mideast_summit_syria Yahoo News] ]
Objectives and background
The objecectives of the conference were in an attempt to produce a substantive document on resolving the
Israeli-Palestinian conflictalong the lines of President George W. Bush's Roadmap For Peace, with the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state. A draft document was leaked by Haaretzon 17 November 2007, [ [http://haaretz.com/hasite/images/iht_daily/D211107/an_doc.pdf Draft, subject to approval, King David Hotel] ] with the final and forthcoming Annapolis Joint Declarationexpected to outline the scope of what will eventually be final peace talks. [ [http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/923973.html Haaretz, 14 November 2007] ]
President Abbas and P.M. Olmert had been meeting repeatedly since June 2007 to try and agree on some basic issues ahead of the summit. [" [http://www.indianmuslims.info/news/2007/oct/01/abbas_olmert_meeting_postponed_wednesday.html_0 Abbas-Olmert meeting postponed to Wednesday] ", Indian Muslims, 10-01-2007.]
A final round of discussions between Olmert and Abbas was held in
Washington D.C.on 26 November 2007, the day prior to the conference.
The conference on November 27, 2007, took place approximately 30 years after
Anwar El Sadat, president of Egypt, visited Israel on November 19, 1977to sign a peace agreement. [" [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g14_OgVc3KvfIE0q7FpUa4Ou69QQD8T1MT301 US Announces Date for Mideast Talks] ", " The Associated Press", 11-20-2007] and appoximately 60 years after the newly-created United Nationsapproved the UN Partition Plan(United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181) on November 29, 1947, dividing Palestine (Modern day Israeland the Palastinian territories) into two states, one Arab and one Jewish. Jerusalemwas to be designated an international city – a " corpus separatum" – administered by the UN to avoid conflict over its status. [harvnb|Best|2003|pp=118–9] The Jewish community accepted the plan, [cite web|url=http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Facts+About+Israel/History/HISTORY-+Foreign+Domination.htm |publisher=Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs |title=History: Foreign Domination |date= 2006-10-01|accessdate=2007-07-06] but the Arab Leagueand Arab Higher Committeerejected it. [harvnb|Bregman|2002|p=40–1]
Secretary Rice visited the
Middle Easton a four day tour of shuttle diplomacy in mid-October to shore up support for the summit, [" [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/914119.html Source: Joint Israel-PA statement to address 'all core issues'] ", "Haaretz", 18 October 2007] and hinted at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities(GA), in Nashville, Tennesseeon November 13, 2007, that Israelis are prepared to give up the West Bankin exchange for peace. [ [http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/923721.html Haaretz, 13 November 2007] ] This was Rice's 8th visit to the region during the Bush Administration.
Abbas stated that a clear agenda was necessary for the conference, [" [http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6275301.html Abbas calls for clear agenda for Mideast peace conference] ", "
People's Daily", 10-01-2007.] and affirmed in early October that only a Palestinian state comprising the West Bankand Gaza Stripin their entirety would be acceptable, with any permanent Israeli control of land beyond its 1967 borders subject to discussion on a one-to-one basis. [" [http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2188046,00.html Abbas spells out land demand] ", 10-10-2007] He further demanded that all six central issues be debated at the conference: Jerusalem, refugees and right of return, borders, settlements, water and security. [de icon " [http://diepresse.com/home/politik/aussenpolitik/336319/index.do?_vl_backlink=/home/politik/aussenpolitik/index.do Hamas bietet der Fatah Gespräche an] ", "die Presse.com", 2007-11-10]
Abbas has said that he hoped to reach an agreement with Israel by the end of November 2007, [" [http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6276530.html Abbas, Olmert look into way of launching final negotiations: PLO official] ", "
People's Daily", 10-03-2007,] which Abbas would then put to a referendum. [" [http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6276123.html Abbas to call for referendum in case deal reached with Israel:official] ", " People's Daily", 10-03-2007] Furthermore, he has expressed his hope that a final agreement with Israel would be possible within six months of the conference. [" [http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6275213.html Abbas, Olmert likely to meet Tuesday: Erekat] ", " People's Daily", 09-30-2007]
In October 2007, Prime Minister Olmert indicated that he would be willing to give parts of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as part of a broader peace settlement at Annapolis, [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/15/world/middleeast/15mideast.html?_r=1&oref=slogin New York Times, "Israelis Press Plan to Block the Division of Jerusalem", By Isabel Kershner, November 15, 2007] ] drawing considerable criticism from right-wing Israeli and foreign Jewish organizations and
Christian Zionists. [ [http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c40_a603/News/Israel.html The Jewish Week, "New Coalition To Fight Any Jerusalem Division, Orthodox, Evangelicals join forces to oppose Olmert’s intentions in advance of Annapolis summit", James Besser, 10/18/2007] ] [ [http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/270070.aspx Christian Broadcast Network, "Is Mideast Peace Conference a Mistake"? By Chris Mitchell, November 13, 2007] ] [ [http://www.infoisrael.net/cgi-local/text.pl?source=2/a/ix/151120071 IHC News, "Coalition MKs, Opposition Support United Jerusalem Bill", By Amihai Zippor, 15 November 2007] ]
November 27, 2007, Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shasparty, announced that his party would leave the government coalition, thereby ending the coalition's majority in the Knesset, if Ehud Olmertagreed to divide Jerusalem. Shas minister Eli Yishai explained: "Jerusalem is above all political considerations. I will not help enable concessions on Jerusalem." [ [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3476045,00.html Yosef: Shash will quit government if J'lem divided, By Neta Sela, November 27, 2007] ] Olmert's ability to follow through on his earlier comments about concessions in East Jerusalem is therefore in question.
Prior to the conference, President Bush met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the White House. [ [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mideast27nov27,0,4136060.story LA Times - Mideast Peace Conference Opens] ] After meeting with Olmert and Abbas, President Bush read from a joint statement, signed by both parties, supporting a
Two-State Solution. "We agreed to immediately launch good faith, bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including core issues, without exception," and that, "The final peace settlement will establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people." [ [http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/928637.html Haaretz, 27 November 2007] , Israel, PA agree to reach accord by end of 2008.]
The Annapolis Conference differed from previous Middle East peace conferences in several respects:
* This was the first time both sides (Israeli and Palestinian) have entered a conference with a common understanding that the final state of Palestinian-Israeli peace will be a
* This was the first time Palestinians spoke for themselves, instead of being part of a delegation, such as the Arab League.
* This was the most politically fragmented that the Palestinians have been going into a conference.
* This is the first time in several decades that the context of the conference did not include adversarial positions from either the United Nations or the European Union against the Israelis. Going into the conference, the U.N. and E.U. were both largely behind the U.S. effort.
* Similarly, the importance of the
Quartet on the Middle Easthas been diminished since it was first formed. At the Annapolis Conference, the U.S. played the major mediator role, with the other three members of the original Quartet assuming lower status positions.
Protests and boycotts
Hamasand Ali Khameneiof Iran have called for a boycott of the conference, [" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7031651.stm Haniya urges conference boycott] ", BBC News, October 6, 2007.] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7043174.stm BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran leader urges summit boycott ] ] and on November 23Hamas held a demonstration in the Gaza Strip. [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071123/ap_on_re_mi_ea/arabs_mideast_conference]
The president of Iran,
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has denounced the event, stating that "This is a political show for the media which is in Israel's interest". [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3475503,00.html Ynet News article, November 25, 2007]
On the other hand, Jewish activists and organizations opposed to Israel's concession of any part of
Jerusalemor "Judea and Samaria" (the historical term for what has become widely known as the West Bank), in a peace settlement have become increasingly vocal against the Olmert government, with protests planned in front of Israeli embassies in New York and Washington D.C. during the summit. [ [http://www.realisticdove.org/archives/174 Realistic Dove, Dan Fleshler] ] On November 27, 2007, Rabbi Dov Liorof the YeshaRabbis Council called an "emergency meeting" in order to discuss the upcoming conference. During the meeting, Lior stated: "No leader, in any generation, has the right to give away Eretz Israel… we call on the Jews abroad, and especially on community leaders and rabbis, to join us in our efforts against this treaty and its implications... Together, we will save the people of Israel from the government's terrible plan." Lior further stated that peace would only be achieved by " [cleansing] the country of Arabs and [resettling] them in the countries where they came from." [ [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3476150,00.html Rabbi: Cleanse country of Arabs - Israel Jewish Scene, Ynetnews ] ]
A number of large mainstream American Jewish and Christian groups joined together with a majority of
Knessetto oppose any negotiation that would include altering Jerusalem's status. They formed the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem.
Organizations that approve of the conference are also mobilizing and preparing to demonstrate their support for the summit. [ [http://daledamos.blogspot.com/2007/11/afsi-rally-at-annapolis-reserve-for-bus.html Rally to Protest Against The Division of Jerusalem] ] [ [http://www.upf.org/news/field/namerica/2007/index.php?report_id=1039&event_id=210 UPF Statement on Annapolis Peace Talks] ] The United Nations is preparing a resolution to be adopted by the Security Council on
November 30, 2007expressing support for the outcome of the conference. The resolution was withdrawn after Israel raised complaints. [ [http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/929701.html Haaretz, 30 November 2007] , "U.S. withdraws UN Annapolis resolution after Israel objects" ]
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