Monday, December 3, 2007

Post Annapolis - can we expect something?

According to Tzippi Livni, “last week was a good week for Israel, and we succeeded in meeting the goals we set for ourselves regarding the peace process”, she said at a cabinet meeting.

According to all the polls carried out post Annapolis here in Israel, around 50% of the population thinks otherwise. This represents the gut reaction of the man in the street who has had negative feelings about the whole process from the beginning.

Nevertheless, Livni claims:-

a) the text of the Joint Understanding contains several key issues regarding the peace process and several points which were not included in the document, are no less important than those that were included.

b) The implementation of the Roadmap is paramount and our implementation of the agreements will be conditional on an examination of actual implementation on the ground of the first phase of the Roadmap.

c) Israel's hands will not be tied: There will be no agreement on core issues at this early stage, no inclusion of issues problematic for Israel within the framework of the negotiations - such as the Arab League initiative which includes some issues that are awkward for us - and Israel will not be bound to a time table.

d) True negotiations are in Israel’s interest but there was no commitment to a time table that will bring direct international pressures to bear on Israel.

e) There will be no international involvement throughout the process, the entire dialogue must be bilateral.
f) Another important subject was the participation of the Arab countries, as part of the emerging struggle between moderates and extremists. The participation of the Arab countries at the foreign minister level, as well as their moderate demeanor, is not to be taken lightly.

g) Annapolis was also a success in that it was made clear to everyone that negotiations do not limit Israel's freedom to act on security issues. From Israel's point of view, the Roadmap is the minimum basic demand. Security arrangements will also be part of the ongoing talks and serve as the basis for our positions.

One can only hope that these principles are adhered to, past history doesn’t give too much hope but maybe, just maybe there is a chink of light, who knows?

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