Israel Cabinet Minister Urges Inviting Hamas

Ami Ayalon, a minister in the Israel cabinet urged his nation’s leaders to invite Hamas to participate in the upcoming Annapolis conference because such “a call would cause Hamas to crumble ” due to the “internal struggles taking place within the group.” On Monday, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, raised Palestinian concerns that internal struggles within the Israel government were also an issue since there apparently wasn’t complete support for how to deal with the conference. “The Palestinian position is clear. We won’t go to the conference unless we reach an agreement with Israel on the final status issues and a clear timetable for the implementation of any agreement between the two parties.” In the meantime, President Shimon Peres told visiting Indonesian reporters “if everything goes well, it is actually possible to solve all the problems in two or three years.”

it is clear the conference has yet to identify a process of negotiation as well as what will immediately be implemented and what will take time to finalize. Peres raises a realistic concern that all problems can not be solved within a few months and some may take years to achieve. Perhaps, there is a middle ground between a Palestinian desire for specificity and an Israel desire for moving slow. Prior to the conference both parties might identify which issues can be resolved within a short time frame and which would necessitate a longer time period. This might persuade Palestinian negotiators they are not going through a long talk without any concrete results.