For those who may be confused about the nature of the Middle East conflict and the objectives of this meeting, a simplified explanation follows:
1. The Muslim nations wish to destroy Israel and kill all Jews.
2. Israel wishes to continue to exist.
3. A likely outcome, based upon previous conferences, is that Israel will be condemned for maintaining its unreasonable position.
No chance for peace
Sadly, there is zero chance that these talks will do anything to foster peace in the Middle East.
While the majority of Palestinians and Israelis would undoubtedly welcome peace, there are activist extremists on the Palestinian side dedicated to preventing it.
Hamas is explicitly dedicated to the elimination of Israel and all Jews from the area. It is financed and supported by extremists in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and probably elsewhere. They will undermine any and all steps toward peace that moderate leaders agree to.
"For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them ..." - II Thes. 5:3
War is a racket -- it's used for political purposes. The Annapolis "peace"
The Oslo Accords, the Camp David accords and other so-called "peace" conferences all had one goal: the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Since the United States and its allies made the decision to place the Jews back in their historic homeland after World War II, tiny Israel has been used as a pawn to stir up strife in the Middle East.
The idea that a Palestinian state can coexist side-by-side with its mortal enemy, Israel, is ludicrous. The Bible has an ominous warning: "And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces ..." -- Zechariah 12:3
Since only war and chaos can result from this process, we will likely see the move to global governance to solve this created crisis.
Marilynne L. Mellander
No quick results
I do not expect immediate results. Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has an extremely low approval rating. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has little influence. Some believe President Bush has little respect in the Middle East.
Results will come from the actions of the 20 senior representatives of Arab and Muslim countries that the Bush administration persuaded to attend the talks.
The Israel-Palestine issue may be a greater terrorist recruitment tool than destroying the "Great Satan," and the attendees know it has to be resolved.
The representatives in Maryland defied Iran by attending. This could be a tentative step toward confronting the renegade regime in Tehran. Iran's mullahs will not be stopped by talks or words on a document. Their support of Hezbollah in Israel foments the conflict.
If Iran is given time to develop nukes, it will use them. This conference may give these leaders a chance to focus on what Iran's stated objectives will do to the region.
As in every other part of the world, the future depends on the young. The Muslim youth of the area will be seduced by Western-style prosperity or Islamic fanaticism. The choice they make will impact the world.
The Bush administration, ever lustful for a foreign policy victory, has once again struck out.
The display of diplomatic theater in Annapolis was nothing more than an impotent president trying to staunch the hemorrhage of his international influence by some meaningless grandstanding.
He brought together two "lame duck" heads of state, with very limited influence at home, to shoot the breeze at the White House about issues none of them can influence.
It should be remembered the democratically elected majority party in the Palestinian Parliament wasn't invited. Hamas is in direct control of the Gaza Strip, along with its 1.5 million inhabitants.
They also enjoy the sympathy of nearly every Palestinian who doesn't have a gun to his head -- and many who do. We also would be well-advised to know that any Palestinian state that isn't to be an international charity case will necessarily involve a functioning seaport at Gaza.
We can call them monsters, we can call them terrorists (and they may be), but the facts on the ground say Hamas has dealt itself a very strong hand, and it is going to get a seat at the table before there's any substantive progress made toward a settlement.
My expectation for the Annapolis peace talks is it would be easier to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.