Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas urged Secretary of State Rice to help bridge the gap between Israel and Palestinian versions of what should be done prior to the upcoming peace conference at Annapolis. There are several core issues to be discussed: West Bank Settlements, refugees, the status of Jerusalem and violence. Abbas wants the development of a joint document containing outlines for potential strategies to deal with these issues as a prelude to the conference while Prime Minister Olmert prefers a vaguely worded document. An Abbas aide, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, said, “the credibility of the U.S. administration depends on the pressure that it is willing to exert on Israel.”
Abbas is absolutely correct, the clearer an agenda and the more detailed are the issues presented, the greater is the probability of success. These issues have been around for over half a century, surely by now all sides are clear as to the options available in resolving them. There is no need for any further research, simply put down with clarity the alternative solutions. The Bush administration has to make a decision as to how much pressure they are willing to exert on Olmert in order to get him away from vagueness and into specificity.