Israel's major newspapers and television news outlets largely ignored a Sunday evening demonstration attended by thousands of Israelis expressing their opposition to the upcoming US-hosted Israeli-Palestinian "peace" summit scheduled to take place in Annapolis, Maryland later this month.
The protesters started at the residence of the US consul general in Jerusalem and marched several hundred yards to the nearby King David Hotel, where US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and international Middle East envoy Tony Blair were meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to hash out a joint statement Olmert is expected to present with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the conclusion of the Annapolis gathering.
The crowd was addressed by leading rabbis and lawmakers, who warned the people that their leaders were, under pressure from the international community, leading Israel down a path of destruction.
"Ehud [Olmert], [Defense Minsiter] Ehud [Barak], and [Foreign Minister] Tzipi [Livni] are deceiving an entire people and leading all of us to the Annapolis trap while ignoring the facts on the ground," Israel National News quoted Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz of the opposition Likud party as saying.
Israel is expected to find itself isolated at Annapolis, where a Bush Administration determined to oversee a final status Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before the end of its second term will be joined at the table by an Arab world united in its version of the only path to "peace."
Despite the apparent danger, Olmert told reporters at a press conference earlier on Sunday that he is "excited with the opportunity to contribute to an opportunity [for peace]. I know all the excuses and reasons for saying 'no,' but I feel in the depth of my heart that it is time! This is the spirit with which we approach Annapolis... We come with good will, joy and hope."