A group of Israel news reporters asked members of the Saudi Arabian delegation if there was any interest on the part of their nation at the upcoming Annapolis meeting to normalize relations with Israel, and they were told, “none.” The Saudi delegation wants no contact with Israel and will even enter the meetings via a separate door. Syria is attending the conference even though they were refused permission to place Israel possession of the Golan Heights as a topic for discussion. However, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqudad will be permitted to address the meeting. An editorial in the Syrian daily, Teshreen stated bluntly the only reason for attending was to deal with the immediate needs of the Palestinian people, and the Syrian delegation realized nothing would be done about their interests and needs. The Syrians believe Israel is trying to force normalization of relations without sensing a need to deal with Arab concerns.
There is no doubt many members of Arab nations are hesitant to attend the Annapolis conference, and a significant problem is failure on the part of its planners to get some prior agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority about concrete steps each party would take in the process of normalizing relations. The conference lacks a specific agenda items, it lacks a timetable to meeting those items, and it lacks a real sense among its participants that the dream of peace is what impels them to be present in Annapolis.