Not surprising, then, that Abbas and Olmert want different things from Anapolis: Abbas needs his persistence with diplomacy to be vindicated by rapid movement towards a two-state solution based on Israel’s 1967 borders, with Jerusalem the shared capital and some form of recognition of the rights of Palestinian refugees. Anything less would mark him as nothing more than a Palestinian Petain, a Palestinian face on the occupation. But Olmert wants the traditional Sharon recipe of a process without end, a general statement of feel-good principles of coexistence, perhaps a campfire singing of the Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t it be Nice” over cocoa and smores, and a pledge to return next year for more of the same. No specifics, no maps, no timetables. Nothing, in other words, that would allow Abbas and the Arab regimes to justify their participation.
So, even before they get to such fundamental questions as whether a regionally-backed peace process is possible without participation by Hamas, Syria and even Iran, the basic problem is that the Anapolis invitation makes clear the massive gulf even between Bush’s anointed peacemakers, Abbas and Olmert, over what would define an acceptable outcome of a peace process, and the steps required to get there.