The most potentially dangerous decision at the Annapolis conference today is the last phrase of the Joint Declaration, read out by President George Bush, in which the two sides have apparently agreed that: “Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged by the United States.”
As Daniel Levy has just written in The Guardian’s Comment is Free section: “The history of the four-year-old document, according to which Israeli-Palestinian peace should have been secured in 2005, is one of the more abject lessons in how not to make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track. This week, however, the parties and the roadmap sponsors will rededicate themselves to ‘roadmap phase one’, peace-process talk for issues such as settlement freeze, outpost removal, easing of closure and removal of checkpoints, reopening Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority institutional and security reform and a crackdown on terrorism. Precious little from this list has been accomplished … The Palestinians will be showered with kind words at Annapolis; three weeks later they will likely receive pledges of hard cash at a donor’s conference in Paris. Even if the Palestinians are presented with a horizon of real independence and statehood, it will likely be preconditioned on an unrealistic set of Palestinian security measures. To really be credible, the Annapolis process will have to overcome two remaining taboos: that Palestinians can deliver ongoing security to Israel under conditions of occupation and that a divided Palestine can midwife a sustainable peace. The Hamas spoiler potential is not solely or even principally about its ability to deploy violence. It is also about the credibility and legitimacy of a process that excludes the party that polled most votes in Palestinian elections…”
Daniel Levy’s comment in The Guardian is here.
Our earlier post, The Road Map by any other name, (published here on 28 October 2007), discussed the re-introduction into this negotiating process of the Road Map that both parties have at various times said was dead: “Just to refresh our memories: the Palestinian leadership rushed to accept the Road Map — however unhappy and anxious they were about it, they realized that not going along would make their immediate situation much worse. The then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, however, smiled, sighed, dawdled, and dragged his feet — then submitted a list of 14 ‘objections’ to the Road Map, without formally objecting in so many words…”