You will note from the following major press that the 50 nation event is long on intent and sentiment, and short on substance.
This author is doubtful of positive developments for two reasons.
1. State representatives in isolation are now known to be an insufficient cross-section of social leadership to positively advance ideals of peace and shared prosperity. Quite urgently and unequivocally powerful representatives of religions, at the very least must be involved in such negotiations and peace efforts. Beyond that leaders in several other non-governmental spheres are vital. These political shows, even when sincere, are like trying to build a house with only mortar, or only bricks. It is not a sufficiently broad cross-section of representative leadership.
2. It is the personal experience of this author that positive intent without overt review, shared understanding, and explicit agreement and commitment regarding substantial points of difference is actually a negative. The imagination of agreement (when sentiments touch) is a formula on a number of fronts for rapid breakdown into worse fracture.
It should be known by those reading the news of this conference that W's declaration was NOT empty platitudes. Something significant and of genuine substance WAS in the statement, and all should be aware of this. The US replaced the 4 previous, established monitors of the roadmap (US, EU, USSR, and UN ) with itself as the sole monitor of Israeli Palestinian efforts to collaborate. This too in the opinion of this author is a negative that invites further fracture among already fragile and deteriorating relationships. (Even US/EU relationships are heading toward horrible clash over the subprime assault on the dollar's value, and the EU Airbus cost calamity on the horizon).
So as not to present singular bias, or pure negativity, I include at the end of this list below of major media identifying vacuousness in the W launch, a link to WaPo writer, David Ignatius who argues positively for the results of Annapolis.
Voice of Amcerica
The announcement gave no indication of progress on the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute such the status of Jerusalem and the rights of Palestinian refugees, and U.S. officials concede that the peace timetable announced by the leaders will be difficult to keep.
Los Angeles Times
As a result, a day that began with handshakes and hopes for peace ended with undispelled doubts over the prospect for success of the renewed effort to end decades of strife in the Middle East.
Despite statements of mutual support, the vague wording of the joint declaration signaled that the Israelis had emerged from the conference with more of what they wanted than the Palestinians. It also underscored the wide chasm separating the two sides as they begin trying to reach a deal.
The Guardian (London)
The Palestinian president and Israeli prime minister both pledged "good faith, bilateral negotiations," to secure a peace treaty by the end of 2008.
However, the Maryland conference has done little to dispel doubts about their ability to strike deals on the tough core issues of the conflict in the face of powerful domestic opposition.The Boston Globe
But beyond the strong emotional statements - and a warm, lingering handshake on stage - there were few hints of agreement on substance, even after months of informal, face-to-face talks between the two men.
Abu Rudeina called the joint understanding a ``failure,'' foreshadowing how tough negotiations will be, and dismissed the significance of the statement read by Bush. ``We failed to conclude a document for the last three, four months,'' he said. ``We couldn't agree on one single point.''
David Ignatius - Washington Post
But in this case, I take the contrarian view: Something real did happen in Annapolis. The process that began Tuesday may not lead to peace, but that doesn't mean that Annapolis was simply a gaudy, empty show. A careful reading of the "Joint Understanding" that was announced by Bush reveals the achievements and the failures. I find several important steps forward:
David's article here