Secretary of State Rice, returning from a rather frosty meeting in Moscow with President Putin, began a series of meetings with Israel and Palestinian leaders. She immediately emphasized her visit should not be regarded as one which will lead to anything substantial since she was mainly trying to obtain commitments from both sides they agree on the need for an outline as to what will happen at the Annapolis meeting. Defense Minister Barak said any agreement must ensure the Israel Defense Force (IDF) retained the right of free movement on the West Bank since that was a “fundamental principle that must be demanded in the future as well.” Prime Minister Olmert did not indicate he was interested in an immediate outline for peace.
Secretary Rice has yet to develop a plan for dealing with the apparent refusal of Prime Minister Olmert to focus on developing a concrete peace agreement which will in the near future result in peace. He apparently is more interested in keeping the status quo and working for long term success. Palestinian leaders must have short term changes or forces of terrorism will grow even stronger. Is Condi Rice able to work simultaneously on such divergent agendas?