President Bush just finished his introductory remarks here at Annapolis, and they were thoroughly platitudinous—except for one thing. Bush, in calling for the implementation of the 2003 Roadmap, said that the United States will “monitor and judge” the two sides’ progress in fulfilling its requirements. It was a passing statement, but a tremendously important one. Who in the U.S. government is going to be charged with this responsibility? What kind of monitoring apparatus is going to be imposed? Is there going to be any transparency? Already there are reports of the politicization of similar monitoring efforts. Knowing that such judgments will have a tremendous impact on the perception, among the international community and in the media, of Israel’s aspirations for peace—Palestinian failure in fulfilling the requirements of various peace deals has never been cause for much international concern—the way that the U.S. sets up its “monitoring and judging” operation will be very much worth watching.
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