In the interest of full disclosure, let me start by saying that The Obnoxious American is of Jewish heritage and faith and a strong supporter of the state of Israel. Upon first hearing about the Annapolis conference between Israel and most Arab states, I had a near immediate feeling of deja vu.
About eight years ago, former President Clinton tried running the same play, a last ditch effort to bolster his flailing legacy. Then as now, it wasn't at all clear how the President's tenure would be tallied amongst the great leaders of this country's past. It's a shame that selfish desires drive such noble efforts, but that is the American way after all.
The problem with Annapolis, with the US led roadmap to peace, doesn't lie with the US. Although now, as then, when (not if) it fails it will be laid at the feet of the President.
The other problem with Annapolis is that it gives legitimacy to the gripes of America and Israel's enemies. CNN and other American mainstream media were happy to report that "Israel is 'ready' for a deal", saying that the only sticking points were merely the fate of Jerusalem, the right of return, and the labeling of Israel as a Jewish state. Sounds pretty innocuous right?
It's worth noting that Israel has always been ready to work out some sort of agreement with the Palestinians, in hopes that the never-ending barrage of missiles being shot over its border, and the drumbeat of terrorists attacks on its civilians would stop. No news there. In fact, during the last eight or so years of the Palestinians' destructive intifada, Israel has tried releasing prisoners, turning over settlements, making peace arrangements, all to no avail. Furthermore, as far as I can remember, the specific issues that have been identified in Annapolis have always existed.
Not to say that Israel has been perfect. When provoked, there have been times where the response could have been more measured. That said, when you are being slowly victimized sometimes you act out of turn. However, even when the response has been outsized, Israel still showed restraint. They have the military power to completely decimate the Palestinians. They haven't.