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Annapolis Watch: Israel and Palestinians Agree To Negotiate

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Four points on the Israeli-Palestinian joint statement

Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to set up a steering committee to oversee peace negotiations

Olmert: “We are prepared for painful compromise” (Live broadcast)

Palestinians must develop a stable government that reins in terrorism, and Israel “must demonstrate its support for a prosperous and successful Palestinian state” by removing outposts and ending expansion in the territory, Bush said in his opening speech. (USA Today)

Ynet: Israel and the Palestinians agreed to immediately launch negotiations to achieve a peace treaty to end their six-decade conflict, US President George W. Bush announced at Annapolis

Al-Jazeera: Annapolis “no more than a footnote in history.”

Daniel Pipes: “Arab recognition of Israel’s Jewish nature must have top diplomatic priority. Until the Palestinians formally accept Zionism, then follow up by ceasing all their various strategies to eliminate Israel, negotiations should be halted and not restarted.”

Snapped Shot: Worldwide anti-Annapolis protests

Anti-conference protestor killed in West Bank (Stop the ACLU)

NY Times: Bush has plunged into Middle Eastern diplomacy with Clintonesque energy.

Captain’s Quarters: “Many people wonder why any talks get held at all, but this conflict won’t end in a military settlement, unless Israel gets vanquished.”

Cinnamon Stillwell: “For those of us who insist on engaging with reality, the Annapolis Peace Conference is just the latest episode in a neverending series of pointless, diplomatic posturing.”

Beirut Spring: Seven Reasons Why Syria’s Annapolis Attendance Is Inconsequential

New York Sun: “It seems that everyone is coming: the princes of corruption, assorted jihadists and nincompoops, Syrian murderers, hapless Israelis, superfluous Egyptians, and a coterie of Europeans and hangers-on.”

John Podhoretz: Condoleezza Rice is “growing in office. Alas.”

Kuwait Times: “In his waning months in office, Bush is trying to resolve the intractable conflict when the Palestinians are divided, Israel’s prime minister is unpopular and the US president’s own credibility has been eroded by the Iraq war.”

KABOBfest: “All sides have lowered expectations so much that if the handshakes are ‘firm’ the summit will have wildly surpassed our greatest hopes.”

Time Magazine: Will it be a peace conference, or rather a conference that ends all peace?

Haaretz: “Like a recipe for a meal from leftovers sitting in the refrigerator, the Annapolis conference seeks to combine everything, mix well and serve. Perhaps the diners won’t notice the moldy clumps covered up with heavy spices, especially in the context of a respectable event.”

CNN: Palestinians see Saudi and Syrian attendance as a hopeful sign.

Syrian newspaper’s lead editorial: “Syria will be part of the consensus which aims to force Israel to follow International and Arab principles for peace, and to foil Olmert’s plan to force Arab countries to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.” (Jerusalem Post)

Rosner’s Blog: Striking teachers hound Olmert upon arrival

Christian Science Monitor: It’s really all about the one country that isn’t there – Iran

Michelle Malkin: One Palestinian shopkeeper is selling Annapolis souvenir mugs – with instructions to smash them when the talks break down.

Paulasays.com: Olmert, what is important is what your people think of you, not the Arabs and not the Americans. If the place isn’t “safe” for your people, leave.