Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was roundly criticized Monday by Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister for her choice of issues on which to focus during the Annapolis conference.
Faisal Al-Mekdad made an effort, during a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Damascus, to distance Syria from its participation in the summit by saying it was meant merely as a gesture of support for the concept of a just peace in the Middle East.
Al-Mekdad charged Livni with making statements that were "too vague" on the issues of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Arab "refugees," permanent borders for a Palestinian Authority state and the status of Jerusalem. All are final-status issues that were to follow fulfillment by both Israel and the PA of the conditions detailed in the first and second phases of the American Roadmap peace plan.
Under the 2003 Roadmap, the first phase required the PA to halt all terrorist attacks against Israel and dismantle terrorist infrastructure within the areas its controls. The Jewish State was required to freeze all Jewish development in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including natural growth of existing communities and dismantle outposts established since March 2001.
The conditions for Phase 1 were to be completed within one month, and the entire plan within two years. It never got past the first step, however, due to the PA's unwillingness or inability to eliminate terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens from its areas.
Israel agreed several months ago to skip the first step of the plan, Livni told a conference at the Washington-based Brookings Institute, "because we believe in dialogue with the Palestinians." Israel thus agreed to turn a blind eye to the PA's tolerance of, and sometimes incitement to, terrorism.
Kassam Hits Toy Factory in Sderot
Two Kassam rockets were fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza last night (Sunday). One hit a toy factory in Sderot, causing heavy damage and sending several people to be treated for shock. The factory's employees were told not to show up for work today, because of the severe damage.
Within the past year, Gaza terrorists have added Grad missiles to their arsenal. The Grad's improved range places the coastal city of Ashkelon, and its several strategic facilities, within reach.