The journey of world leaders to the Annapolis conference that began last night continues full throttle. Sunday morning Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert landed in Washington, accompanied by the foreign minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni.
During the flight, Livni said that "the Arab world is not supposed to define the terms of negotiations or even be involved in them." When asked what role she envisions for Arab leaders in the peace process, she said, "there is not a Palestinian in the world who could compromise without the entire Arab world standing behind him; this is part of the Palestinian ethos."
Meanwhile, in Egypt, Arab League General Secretary Amr Moussa set out for Annapolis as well. Speaking to reporters, Moussa said "there can be no normalization except under the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative and an inclusive peace."
According to Moussa, this is the first time the Arab League has participated in a summit where Israelis were present. "We will run frank discussions and report to the world what goes on at the conference," he promised.
Livni, on her part, told Israeli reporters on the plane that future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be conducted in an ongoing manner, and "not at hotels, with negotiators stuck together until reaching an agreement.
"The picture we will see next week will be one that separates the moderates and the extremists. We will crystallize the distinction between these two camps. Syria must decide, and also Hizbullah, where they stand in this story," she added.
Livni said she believed that Syria would end up making an appearance at Annapolis, but at which level is yet unknown. She also explained that as far as Israel is concerned, the Golan issue will not appear on the official agenda at Annapolis. Nevertheless, she did say that it was possible one of the various Arab countries would address the problem.
"They will raise both the issue of the Golan and Jerusalem. Anyone can talk about whatever he likes, but if someone mentions discussions on the future of the Golan, he is taking matters out of context, because the Israeli-Syrian issue is far more complicated," Livni said.
Those that come, and those that shout 'no'
Livni thus summed up the busy week that stands before the Israeli delegation: "We are attending an event in which the entire Arab world is participating, lending support to the process between Israel and the Palestinians. I hope that we will also set in motion additional processes between us and Arab countries."
According to Livni, "there are those that are coming to Annapolis and there are those that are screaming that making peace is forbidden, i.e. Hamas, Iran, and the other terror organizations."
Upon arriving in Washington, Olmert and Livni made their way to a hotel, in which they will stay for the duration of their visit. Livni is expected to meet with American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Sunday morning.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is will arrive in Washington Sunday night after a stopover in New York.
Sunday morning also saw the arrival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose plane arrived at Washington DC's Andrews Air force Base. Before landing, Abbas told reporters, "I have come to Annapolis in order to fulfill the desire of the Palestinian people for their own state."
The Associated Press contributed to this report