The Annapolis Conference was a Middle East Peace Conference held on Nov 27, 2007, at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, United States. The conference marked the first time a two-state solution was articulated as the mutually agreed-upon outline for addressing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The conference ended with the issuing of a joint statement from all parties.
Hamas and Ali Khameini of Iran called for a boycott of the conference, and on Nov 23 Hamas held a demonstration in the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, large demonstrations opposed to the conference were quelled heavy handedly, and demonstrators were beaten by Fatah militants. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, denounced the event, stating that it was "A political show for the media which is in Israel's interest".
On the other hand, Jewish activists and organizations opposed to Israel's concession in a peace settlement of any part of Jerusalem or "Judea and Samaria" (the historical term for what has become widely known as the West Bank) became increasingly vocal against the Olmert government, with protests in front of Israeli embassies in New York and Washington D.C. during the summit.On Nov 27, 2007, Rabbi Dov Lior of the Yesha Rabbis Council called an "emergency meeting" in order to discuss the upcoming conference. During the meeting, Lior stated: "No leader, in any generation, has the right to give away Eretz Israel… we call on the Jews abroad, and especially on community leaders and rabbis, to join us in our efforts against this treaty and its implications... Together, we will save the people of Israel from the government's terrible plan." Lior further stated that peace would only be achieved by "[cleansing] the country of Arabs and [resettling] them in the countries where they came from." A number of large mainstream American Jewish and Christian groups joined together with a majority of Knesset to oppose any negotiation that would include altering Jerusalem's status. They formed the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem.
General Eric Shinseki Signs Annapolis Summit Letter
On the eve of the Annapolis Summit, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff General ERIC SHINSEKI had asked that his name be added to a letter to the President and secretary of State about the fundamental requirements for a successful Israel-Palestine outcome.
Former New Jersey Governor and Bush Administration EPA Administrator CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN and Rice University James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy Director and former US Ambassador EDWARD DJEREJIAN had also agreed to sign the letter.
The New America Foundation, International Crisis Group, and US/Middle East Project helped draft and promulgate a letter to President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regarding the Annapolis Peace Summit late last year.
The letter, as first drafted, called for a process that was inclusive of all parties in the region, a process that would have impacted the daily lives of Palestinians and Israelis, and was not a one-shot deal that ended with the Summit.
There were many signers of the letter, but initial signatories included BRENT SCOWCROFT, ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, CARLA HILLS, NANCY KASSEBAUM BAKER, LEE HAMILTON, THOMAS PICKERING, THEODORE SORENSEN, and PAUL VOLCKER.
US AID Deputy Administrator HARRIET "HATTIE" BABBITT, former USIA Chief JOSEPH DUFFEY, former US Senator GARY HART, former US Senator LINCOLN CHAFEE, RAND Corporation Board Member and New America Foundation/American Strategy Program Chair RITA HAUSER, former Assistant Secretary of State JAMES DOBBINS, former State Department Policy Planning Director MORTON HALPERIN, former Deputy Ambassador to the UN WILLIAM VAN DEN HEUVEL, former Israel Foreign Minister SCHLOMO BEN-AMI. . .
former US Senator BIRCH BAYH, former Congressman and Corning CEO AMO HOUGHTON Jr., former National Intelligence Council Chairman ROBERT HUTCHINGS, Fletcher School Dean and former U.S. Ambassador STEPHEN BOSWORTH, former Assistant Secretary of Defense LAWRENCE KORB, former American Political Science Association President and Columbia University professor ROBERT JERVIS, Kings College Terrorism Chair and New America Foundation Senior Fellow ANATOL LIEVEN, former National Security Agency Director Lt. General WILLIAM ODOM. . .
Committee for the Republic President WILLIAM NITZE, Brookings Visiting Senior Fellow DIANA VILLIERS NEGROPONTE, Former CIA Deputy Director JOHN McLAUGHLIN, former US Ambassador JOHN MALOTT, former EU Commissioner for Foreign Relations CHRISTOPHER PATTEN, former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East PAUL PILLAR, former US Senator LARRY PRESSLER, former US Ambassador FELIX ROHATYN. . .
MIT Center for International Studies Director RICHARD SAMUELS, retired Marine Corps General JOHN J. "JACK" SHEEHAN, Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School Dean ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, Former Congressman STEPHEN SOLARZ, former First USA Bank CEO and Adagio Partners CEO RICHARD VAGUE, Former US Senator and UN Foundation President TIMOTHY WIRTH, and former US Ambassador and AIG Vice Chairman FRANK WISNER. . .
former New Jersey Governor and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, Nixon Center President and National Interest Publisher DIMITRI SIMES, former National Security Advisor to Vice President Al Gore LEON FUERTH, Brookings Senior Fellow PHILIP GORDON, former US Ambassador to NATO ROBERT HUNTER, former Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister ANWAR IBRAHIM, former CIA Deputy Director JOHN McLAUGHLIN. . .
former State Department Chief of Staff LAWRENCE WILKERSON, Lehman Brothers Managing Director THEODORE ROOSEVELT IV, former US Ambassador JOSEPH WILSON, former Chief Monitor of the Middle East Roadmap at the Department of State JOHN S. WOLF -- among others.
The Annapolis Summit is actually an extraordinary meeting of global players -- including the foreign ministers of all P-5 nations not to mention a vast number of Arab states -- but it remains to be known on whether something tangible and transmittable to Obama as the new US President will emerge from this meeting.
The Palestinians were depressed after being cajoled into signing a joint declaration, they are hopeful and semi-confident that Bush's speech on the Tuesday following the session would offer some greater specificity on his vision of various "final status" issues.
Analysts said it was vital that the White House understood that it was not only Ehud Ohlmert who needed to give a victory speech when he went home -- but also Palestinian Authority President Abbas. If Palestinians on the street didn't feel bolstered by the outcome following the summit, Abbas would be politically crushed -- and Hamas, which was not included in this process, would emerge a victor...hence, bringing us to the Israeli blitz on the innocent people of Gaza the last three weeks