The list of invitations to what is being billed as the Annapolis Peace Conference reads like the attendance at a lynching. From Saudi Arabia to Syria, from the Arab League to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, from Javier Solana to Kadaffi's Libyan representative, every faction and country that wants Israel wiped off the face of the earth already has an invitation to the conference at which the Palestinians are expected to mumble something vague about their commitment to peace while Israel carves itself up and hands out pieces of itself to the enemy like some ghastly banquet treat.
In the upside down universe of international diplomacy, the only way to thwart Hamas and Ahmadinejad is not on the battlefield, but by "empowering the moderates" by making endless territorial concessions to them. It's as if this was 1942 and the United States decided the best way to end the war was by "discrediting" the extremist Nazis in Germany by forcing England to attend a peace conference with the "moderate" fascists in Italy and Spain and turn over Wales and parts of England proper to them.
In preparation for the conference, Olmert has begun handing out terrorist party favors releasing Fatah terrorists and allowing Russia to supply them with 25 armored cars and a 1000 rifles and 2 million rounds of ammunition. The first death of that bloody harvest came with the shooting of Ido Zoldan as terrorists celebrated the upcoming peace conference in the the traditional way by murdering Israelis. Of course since Ido Zoldan was an opponent of Olmert's corrupt government, that could only have been a cause for celebration in the Prime Minister's Office.
If the first half of Olmert's reign was notorious for his brutality, incompetence and corruption; his second half is now a sham in which Peres in the President's office wields more actual power than the Prime Minister, setting the agenda for the state. Every insane policy from the Rabin \ Peres era has been dusted off, from releasing terrorists to arming them, to holding peace conferences with Fatah which has broken every promise of peace it has ever made. Olmert may be going to Annapolis, but it is Peres who is now setting the agenda as Olmert trudges behind him hoping to salvage a way to stay in office.
Meanwhile Condoleeza Rice continues to lever pressure on Israel, as America and Europe remain delusionally convinced that Abbas is an American ally, that Fatah is friendly and that the only way to salvage his failing government is to force Israel to make massive concessions to him. This is supposed to win him the confidence of Palestinian Arabs and the Middle East, but why in the world would any Arab have confidence in a failed leader who has to be coddled and armed by America and Israel? That's the problem with puppet regimes, they never have much credibility.
In the aftermath of Arafat's death, Fatah has been exposed for what it is, a bunch of cowardly armed gangs with no ability to run anything except their protection and payoff rackets. Hamas has been exposed as a bunch of fanatical Islamic thugs looking to create their own Taliban state. Given that America and Israel have repeatedly shown that they will not remove Hamas and since Hamas has shown that it can and will win any confrontation with Fatah, why in the world would anyone besides foreign diplomats back Fatah?
Condoleeza Rice can squeeze as many giveaways out of Israel as she likes, but leaders don't get credibility at the negotiating table, but from their ability to control their own territory. It's why the Afghani government has credibility and the Iraqi government does not. Right now Abbas has to be wearing diapers because he knows that the likeliest time for a coup is when the leader is out of the country. When Israel accepted Oslo, it turned over Gaza and the West Bank to a coalition of armed gangs represented by a handful of men in suits with foreign educations who could plausibly mimic a government well enough to fool the diplomats. The gangs are going their own way, leaving only the men in their expensive suits to accept Israel's surrender on behalf of a phony nation whose representatives are busy stockpiling aid money in its foreign bank accounts for when the hammer comes down.