In its meeting Sunday, the cabinet endorsed the understandings reached in the Annapolis peace conference regarding negotiations with the Palestinians. Shas' ministers opposed the motion and voted against it.
Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said that Annapolis was "an unnecessary conference," adding, "We should certainly not talk with the radical Palestinians. We surrender more and more each time."
Another minister who slammed the summit was Yisrael Beiteinu's Avigdor Lieberman, who said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is as much a representative of the Palestinians as he himself is a representative of the Norwegians.
"The chance that Abbas would be able to control Gaza, as was required of him in Annapolis, is slim," the minister for strategic affair added.
The peace summit's outcome was also harshly criticized by several Kadima members. Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter stressed that Israel should not engage in negotiations over core issues before it has made sure that "the Palestinians were keeping their end of the bargain, by fighting terror and establishing a proper law enforcement system."
According to Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, "Some issues should not be discussed until we have made sure that the Palestinians are in control over all the territories under their authority in Judea, Samaria and Gaza."
Livni, Olmert more optimisticForeign Minister Tzipi Livni, on the other hand, lauded the conference's results, saying that “the three major achievements of the Annapolis peace summit are its adherence to the Road Map principles, its flexibility with regard to the core issues at this stage, and its insistence on a ‘hands off’ policy as far as international involvement is concerned.
"We need to continue as support for moderate Arab leaders who do not view negotiations with Israel as high treason to the Arab cause,” added Livni.
Prime Minster Ehud Olmert stated in the meeting that “Israel should strive to normalize relations with its Arab neighbors effective immediately and not in the distant future.
“I applaud the active participation by so many countries in the peace summit,” added Olmert, “especially of those Arab countries that as of yet do not formally recognize Israel.