The winner of next year's US presidential election is likely to find his or her presidency dominated by the Middle East conflict, so Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday extended the courtesy of briefing the top Democrat and Republican candidates on this week's Bush Administration-hosted peace talks before returning to Israel.
According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Olmert conducted separate telephone conversations with Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama, John Edwards, John McCain, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney to bring the candidates up to speed on the latest US efforts to ram through an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
All of the candidates have expressed solid support for Israel, and the Republican candidates (Giuliani, McCain, Thompson and Romney) went so far as to criticize and even denounce the Annapolis peace summit that took place earlier this week because it put Israel in a position of having to conclude a "peace" deal with an entity that still desires its destruction.
Romney, for instance, pointed out the obvious just days before the conference started - that nothing over the past decade-and-a-half of international Middle East peacemaking suggests that the Palestinians are viable peace partners.
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