Syria joined a last-minute rush of Arab nations to participate in Tuesday’s Middle East peace summit in Annapolis, Md., giving a boost to the Bush administration’s diplomatic push for a treaty to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (The New York Times, free registration)
What the commentators said
People seem to call every round of negotiations the “last chance” for Mideast peace, said Scott Macleod in Time.com, but “there’s reason to pay attention to the warnings this time.” The “once-promising dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians” is “hanging by a thread,” and if this conference fails “the two-state solution and its hope of peace may die forever.”
There are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic, said James Carroll in The Boston Globe (free registration). “Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas presides over a fractured people, with Hamas ready to spoil any agreement.” And “Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is politically vulnerable to extremist figures on the Israeli side who want no concessions.”
This summit doesn’t have to accomplish much to be a success, said Janine Zacharia and Gwen Ackerman in Bloomberg.com. “Symbolism may be more important than substance” at this point, and just “bringing Israel together with Arab governments could counter the message of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” that violence is an effective way to defy the international community.