Nine months have passed since President Bush and Secretary of State Condi Rice convened a meeting at Annapolis which allegedly was supposed to hammer out a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Words were spoken, meetings held in which both sides postured and planted invisible lines in the sand beyond which they would not go, and, in the end, as all political analysts predicted, nothing was ever accomplished. Secretary of State Rice is once again winging her way to Jerusalem in hope of getting some sort of agreement so the Bush administration, prior to leaving office, can claim credit for some sort of Middle Eastern agreement. Both sides have significant differing views about Jerusalem and the West Bank which relate to the final boundary lines of a Palestinian state.
John McCain would love going into the campaign being able to tell Jewish voters the Republican party accomplished something in the way of dealing with Israel’s problems.
The reality is Prime Minister Olmert is stepping down under a cloud of suspicion about dealing with charges of corruption. Foreign Minister Livni, who hopes to succeed him, is in no way ready to grant anything substantive to the Palestinians while she strives to become the new prime minister, and President Abbas is determined to obtain certain goals related to the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Rice is under heavy attack for her inept performance in the Georgia crisis where she came across as lost and without any sensible ideas. She wants some figment of success before she heads home. Unfortunately, Rice will leave Jerusalem as she arrived — no deal.