Annapolis Conference

Annapolis Conference

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Encyclopedia
For the revolutionary legislature of the Colony of Maryland, see Annapolis Convention (1774-1776).
For the meeting that resulted in the United States Constitutional Convention, see Annapolis Convention (1786)
Annapolis Convention (1786)
The Annapolis Convention was a meeting in 1786 at Annapolis, Maryland, of 12 delegates from five states that unanimously called for a constitutional convention. The formal title of the meeting was a Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government...


The Annapolis Conference was a Middle East peace conference
Peace conference
A peace conference is a diplomatic meeting where representatives of certain states, armies, or other warring parties converge to end hostilities and sign a peace treaty....

 held on November 27, 2007, at the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 in Annapolis
Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. It had a population of 38,394 at the 2010 census and is situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, south of Baltimore and about east of Washington, D.C. Annapolis is...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, United States. The conference marked the first time a two-state solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

 was articulated as the mutually agreed-upon outline for addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

. The conference ended with the issuing of a joint statement from all parties.

Attendees



U.S. Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

 organized and hosted the conference. Palestinian President
President of the Palestinian National Authority
The President of the Palestinian National Authority is the highest-ranking political position in the Palestinian National Authority ....

 Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

, Israeli Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

, and U.S. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 attended the meeting. A partial list of over 40 invitees was released on November 20, 2007, including China, the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations; most of whom accepted the invitation.

Objectives and background



The objectives of the conference were in an attempt to produce a substantive document on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

 along the lines of President George W. Bush's Roadmap For Peace, with the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state. A draft document was leaked by Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 on November 17, 2007, with the final and forthcoming Annapolis Joint Declaration expected to outline the scope of what will eventually be final peace talks.

President Abbas and P.M. Olmert had been meeting repeatedly since June 2007 to try and agree on some basic issues ahead of the summit.

A final round of discussions between Olmert and Abbas was held in Washington D.C. on November 26, 2007, the day prior to the conference.

The conference on November 27, 2007, took place approximately 30 years after Anwar El Sadat, president of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, visited Israel on November 19, 1977 to sign a peace agreement. and approximately 60 years after the newly-created United Nations approved the UN Partition Plan (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181) on November 29, 1947, dividing Palestine (Modern day Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the Palestinian territories) into two states, one Arab and one Jewish. Jerusalem was to be designated an international city – a corpus separatum – administered by the UN to avoid conflict over its status. The Jewish community
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

 accepted the plan, but the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 and Arab Higher Committee
Arab Higher Committee
The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on 25 April 1936, on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans under the mufti's...

 rejected it.

Americans


Secretary Rice visited the Middle East on a four day tour of shuttle diplomacy in mid-October to shore up support for the summit, and hinted at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities
United Jewish Communities
The Jewish Federations of North America , is an American Jewish umbrella organization representing 157 Jewish Federations and the Network of Independent Communities, 400 smaller Jewish communities across North America. The JFNA was formed from the 1999 merger of the United Jewish Appeal, the...

 (GA), in Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

 on November 13, 2007, that Israelis are prepared to give up the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 in exchange for peace. This was Rice's 8th visit to the region during the Bush Administration.

Palestinian



Abbas stated that a clear agenda was necessary for the conference, and affirmed in early October that only a Palestinian state comprising the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 in their entirety would be acceptable, with any permanent Israeli control of land beyond its 1967 borders subject to discussion on a one-to-one basis. He further demanded that all six central issues be debated at the conference: Jerusalem, refugees and right of return, borders, settlements, water and security.

Abbas said that he hoped to reach an agreement with Israel by the end of November 2007, which Abbas would then put to a referendum. Furthermore, he expressed his hope that a final agreement with Israel would be possible within six months of the conference.

Israeli


In October 2007, Prime Minister Olmert indicated that he would be willing to give parts of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as part of a broader peace settlement at Annapolis, drawing considerable criticism from right-wing Israeli and foreign Jewish organizations and Christian Zionists.

On November 27, 2007, Ovadia Yosef
Ovadia Yosef
Ovadia Yosef is the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a recognised Talmudic scholar and foremost halakhic authority.He currently serves as the spiritual leader of the Shas political party in the Israeli parliament...

, the spiritual leader of the Shas
Shas
Shas is an ultra-orthodox religious political party in Israel, primarily representing Sephardic and Mizrahi Haredi Judaism.Shas was founded in 1984 by dissident members of the Ashkenazi dominated Agudat Israel, to represent the interests of religiously observant Sephardic and Mizrahi ...

 party, announced that his party would leave the government coalition, thereby ending the coalition's majority in the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

, if Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 agreed to divide Jerusalem. Shas minister Eli Yishai explained: "Jerusalem is above all political considerations. I will not help enable concessions on Jerusalem." Olmert's ability to follow through on his earlier comments about concessions in East Jerusalem is therefore in question.

Opening



Prior to the conference, President Bush met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the White House. After meeting with Olmert and Abbas, President Bush read from a joint statement, signed by both parties, supporting a Two-State Solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

. "We agreed to immediately launch good faith, bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including core issues, without exception," and that, "The final peace settlement will establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people."

Analysis


The Annapolis Conference differed from previous Middle East peace conferences in several respects:
  • This was the first time both sides (Israeli and Palestinian) entered a conference with a common understanding that the final state of Palestinian-Israeli peace will be a two-state solution
    Two-state solution
    The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

    .
  • This was the first time in several decades that the context of the conference did not include adversarial positions from either the United Nations or the European Union against the Israelis. Going into the conference, the U.N. and E.U. were both largely behind the U.S. effort.
  • Similarly, the importance of the Quartet on the Middle East
    Quartet on the Middle East
    The Quartet on the Middle East, sometimes called the Diplomatic Quartet or Madrid Quartet or simply the Quartet, is a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet are the United Nations, the...

     has been diminished since it was first formed. At the Annapolis Conference, the U.S. played the major mediator role, with the other three members of the original Quartet assuming lower status positions.

Protests and boycotts


Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i is the Supreme Leader of Iran and the figurative head of the Muslim conservative establishment in Iran and Twelver Shi'a marja...

 of Iran called for a boycott of the conference, and on November 23 Hamas held a demonstration in the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, large demonstrations opposed to the conference were quelled heavy handedly, and demonstrators were beaten by Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 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
Judea and Samaria
Judea and Samaria Area is the official Israeli term roughly corresponding to the territory usually known outside Israel as the West Bank and to the Israeli settlements there that are not governed as part of Jerusalem.-Terminology:...

 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 November 27, 2007, Rabbi Dov Lior of the Yesha
Yesha
Yesha is a Hebrew acronym for "Judea, Samaria Gaza" , and is one of a number of terms used to describe the areas military occupied by Israel after the Six-Day War of June 1967...

 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
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 to oppose any negotiation that would include altering Jerusalem's status. They formed the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem
Coordinating Council on Jerusalem
The Coordinating Council on Jerusalem is a lobbying group. It was officially launched on October 23, 2007, for the purpose of uniting American Jewish organizations on behalf of a secure and unified Jerusalem. The creation of political strategist Jeff Ballabon, it was founded to provide a united...

.

Support


Organizations that approved of the conference also mobilized and prepared to demonstrate their support for the summit. The United Nations prepared a resolution to be adopted by the Security Council on November 30, 2007, expressing support for the outcome of the conference. The resolution was withdrawn after Israel raised complaints.

See also

  • One-state solution
  • Two-state solution
    Two-state solution
    The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

  • Three-state solution