Peace lost:

No document with principles for a peace accord was signed on Tuesday in Annapolis, where envoys from 46 countries joined Israeli and Palestinian leaders and President Bush at a gathering meant to launch negotiations on a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So the Annapolis event can only be judged by what follows it. If the meeting is to become more than another missed opportunity for Mideast peace, Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans will have to persevere until they forge a just and durable peace agreement.

They must be guided by the wisdom of Yitzhak Rabin, the assassinated Israeli prime minister who once pledged to negotiate as if there were no terrorism and to fight terrorism as if there were no negotiations. If a suicide bombing, a rocket attack, a kidnapping, or an assassination can sabotage the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that begin next month, the extremists will be certain to cast that veto.

If a time comes when the two sides are unable to reconcile their positions on key issues, Bush and Rice must be prepared to present US proposals for a final-status agreement.

Once there is a signed peace accord, both peoples will have a chance to

vote for it. When that happens, rejectionists in both camps will be shown for what they are: marginal forces opposing the popular will. — The Boston Globe