Joint Understanding Signed at Annapolis Conference (L-R) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, US President George Bush and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pictured at the Annapolis Conference, November 27, 2007. Photo US Navy

November 27, 2007

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. President George W. Bush release a joint statement of the framework of their approach and goals at the conclusion of a one-day peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. The peace conference, which follows unprecedented pre-negotiations, is established to provide regional and international backing for a two-state solution in the area west of the Jordan River. While the talks are primarily between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, ongoing, secret Syrian-Israeli talks under the auspices of Turkish intermediaries are later revealed.

Addressing the attendees of the peace conference, including a member of the Saudi royal family and officials from 49 other countries, Bush says, “We meet to lay the foundation for the establishment of a new nation: a democratic Palestinian state that will live side by side with Israel in peace and security.”

The Annapolis conference produces three important outcomes: The Palestinians and Israelis are directly engaged in great detail about final-status issues (Jerusalem, land swaps, borders, withdrawal); both sides enter and leave the conference with an understanding that a final peace between them would be based on a two-state solution; and the United States reasserts its centrality in the negotiating process, supplanting the role of the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia). The quartet was established in 2002 in response to the violence of the Second Palestinian Intifada.

Despite what seems like a ripe opportunity to push toward a final-status peace agreement based on a two-state solution, the Annapolis framework ultimately goes nowhere. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump try to orchestrate analogous U.S.-led peace processes without success.
Read the text of the Annapolis framework here.