Ghassan Khatib, writing in the Cairo Daily News points out that even those who had limited expectations about the Annapolis conference were disappointed by its failure. The two sides failed to make any political progress toward agreement, to agree on even what they would discuss at future meetings, or what even are the end goals of the process. The only thing everyone agreed upon is the necessity of having a process in place. This had led, according to Khatib, to cover up the lack “of substantial political progress by exaggerating the process itself.” He makes a contrast between Annapolis which accomplished absolutely nothing but is considered a success by the Bush people while Clinton’s 200 Camp David negotiations actually made some limited progress and it is viewed as a failure. Khatib regards the conference as “useful to Israel” since Olmert can come across as being a recognized leader, and it allowed America to dominate negotiation in the Middl East. He also believes the person most damaged by the conference was President Abbas. “He will be faced with..blame, including from some of his closes aides and members of his delegation for the failure of Annapolis, including the decision to sign onto the poor joint statement that was read at the end by US President George Bush.” Khatib believes Arabs are justifiably furious at the Bush statement that Israel is “the state of the Jewish people.” This is regarded by many Arabs as insulting to the Arab Israelis.
What will happen in the coming months when there is no progress on the Israel-Palestinian conflict? has Bush or his underlings considered that possibility? Was any thought given to the importance of some agreement that both sides could cite as evidence negotiations can be successful? This writer believes the United States should withdraw from serving as a mediator and turn that responsibility over to Turkey. The Turkish government has excellent relations with both Israel and the Arab world. They are trusted by both sides. George Bush has absolutely no trust among Arab peoples.