In the ambiguous aftermath of the Annapolis summit, a blizzard of contradictory Israeli pronouncements on settlement expansion could be an irritant in U.S.-Israel relations — especially the on-again-off-again plan to build new housing in the red flag Har Homa neighborhood of Jerusalem.
But few observers expect an all-out diplomatic blow-up despite the Bush administration’s new urgency about forging a peace agreement by the end of the new year.
Despite tepid support for the Bush administration’s upcoming Annapolis summit, many Jewish leaders and some politicians are warning that insufficient groundwork by the Bush administration could turn the meeting into a meaningless photo-op — or the trigger for a new intifada.
In the face of administration pleas for public support, Anti-Defamation League leader Abraham Foxman this week would speak only about his fears that the upcoming Middle East peace summit in Annapolis, Md., would fail — and possibly lead to violence.
That stance, almost universal among mainstream pro-Israel groups, comes as peace process opponents mount a well-financed campaign to undermine public support for the conference, both here and in Israel.
Despite efforts by U.S. officials to tamp down expectations, next month’s Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Md., is looking more and more like a high-stakes roll of the dice by the Bush administration.
And if the gamble comes up empty, experts and activists across the political spectrum fear the results could include new Palestinian violence, a big boost for the terrorist group Hamas and even more disillusionment by a weary Israeli public.