In the Yahoo News story Greg linked to, the Saudis and the Arab League were quoted as having grudgingly agreeing to attend Annapolis, but with the Saudi Foreign Minister warning the US that `there would be no public handshakes with Israeli officials.'
I wonder, are they going to communicate via telecom, so the Arabs don't even have to sit in the same room or breathe the same air as a Jew?
Moreover, as Greg's post further reveals, for the Arabs, this is not in any sense about `negotiations'.
According to Arab League chief Amr Moussa, the Arab countries are there specifically to make sure that Mahmoud Abbas doesn't offer any concessions to Israel, and sticks explicitly with the Saudi ultimatum calling for a return to the pre `67 lines...other wise they won't be bound by it.
In other words, there's nothing to negotiate. As the Saudis have said before, either Israel surrenders or faces war.
Greg puts it very well...
Until the Arabs are willing to concede the legitimacy of Israel and its undeniable right to exist within secure borders, there is absolutely nothing to talk about. Indeed, the Israelis should not be attending Annapolis without a firm, explicit agreement to those points from every other participant. Frankly, I am ashamed of my President and his Secretary of State for not insisting upon those as the minimum standard for any Arab state to be allowed to attend the Annapolis summit -- or for any government official of those countries to be allowed to set foot upon American soil (and yes, I do include embassy staff and UN representatives in that statement).
For six decades the Arabs have tried to make the Middle East "Judenrein", seeking to impose in the Land of Israel the same solution that Hitler sought for Germany seven decades ago.
I agree with him. It's embarrassing that our president,who once said that `you're either with us or with the terrorists' would kowtow to these medieval bigots who make a mockery of everything America stands for.
I doubt there will be any concrete results from Annapolis..no Israeli government could embrace this kind of national suicide and survive in power. As a matter of fact, I've speculated before on these pages that the Saudi ultimatum was deliberately written in a way to forego any possibility of Israeli acceptance, and that the idea of the Olmert government and the Bush Administration taing it seriously must have come as a delightful surprise to them.
But there will be substantial damage to Israel's position, an dfor that matter to America's no matter how this comes out. It's a lose-lose proposition..either Israel accepts a patently unfair diktat that results in creating thousands of Jewish refugees and a country with insecure borders with as bunch of genocidal Islamist terrorists armed with heavy weapons next door, or Israel gets demonized as an `obstacle to peace', while the Arabs get to snicker, shrug and say `hey we offered them peace..but you see how those Jews are.'