Presidents Bush and Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert have just finished giving their speeches here in Annapolis, and while Bush and Abbas said little of importance, Olmert broke new ground—and not, alas, in a good way. The money quote from his speech was:From Shmuel Rosner:The negotiations between us will not be here in Annapolis, but rather in our home and in yours. It will be bilateral, direct, ongoing and continuous, in an effort to complete it during the course of 2008.
It will address all the issues which have thus far been evaded. We will do it directly, openly and courageously. We will not avoid any subject, we will deal with all the core issues. I have no doubt that the reality created in our region in 1967 will change significantly. [Emphasis added] While this will be an extremely difficult process for many of us, it is nevertheless inevitable. I know it. Many of my people know it. We are ready for it.
Some Israeli parties threatened to leave the coalition if Jerusalem is mentioned in the document. It was not - that's an achievement for Olmert, but that will be short-lived. Starting tomorrow, a new political reality will make life more difficult both for Olmert and for Abbas. Whether they can maintain their coalitions through a year of "core issue" negotiations is yet to be seen.Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman has been quoted as saying that Annapolis will be "a terrific cocktail party".
Ehud Olmert has just become the life of the party.
UPDATE: Read the complete transcript of Olmert's address [Hat tip: Soccer Dad]