U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he had told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that continued Jewish settlement activity was not constructive and did not "advance the cause of peace".
That is why both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke as forcefully on behalf of a two-state solution as they did in Annapolis -- as, not incidentally, did Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as well. Now comes the hard part, the part so filled with trip wires. Already in Israel, the naysayers are shouting from the rooftops, and the admirable resolve that was on such vivid display in Annapolis seems to be receding. The stakes, this time around, are enormous: Failure to move responsibly toward a two-state agreement would likely consign the idea to the ash heap of history and ensure a future not less bloody than the past. That is a haunting specter; its implications should weigh heavily on the attitude of all those who hold Israel dear.