Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made it clear that during the recent Annapolis conference he turned down flat any discussion of creating a Palestinian state with provisional borders. “There was talk about a state with provisional borders. We reject provisional borders, because there (borders) will be final.” At the conclusion of the Annapolis conference, Abbas and Olmert made a jooint declaration whose second step of the three stage roadmap called for “creating an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and attributes of sovereignty.” It now appears that Abbas is rejecting what he agreed to at Annapolis. He also said it would be impossible to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” because 1.5 million Arabs live in that nation. President Abbas made clear to Hamas leaders there would be no talks unless Hamas relinquishes control over Gaza which they seized several months ago.
There apparently is considerable confusion regarding what delegates agreed to at Annapolis. Regardless of whether or not President Abbas is correct in rejecting the concept of “provisional borders” it is clear Annapolis was a mismanaged affair in which failure to have a clear agenda has resulted in considerable misinterpretations. This writer believes it is time for the United States to get out of this entire situation due to our ineptness and the lack of trust felt by Muslims towards President Bush. We suggest asking Turkey to assume the role of mediator and to organize future meetings between Israel and the Palestinians. Turkey has excellent relations with both Israel and Arabs. Perhaps, a fresh face might lead to fresh hopes.