Modo writes in her New York Times opinion column that Rice is running "a seat-of-the-pants operation, which seems designed to rescue the images of a secretary of state and president who have spent more time working out in the gym than working on the peace process. . . .
"After subverting diplomacy in his first term, now W. does drive-by diplomacy, taking a playboy approach to peace. He wants to look like he's taking the problem of an Israeli-Palestinian treaty seriously when his true motivation is more cynical: pacifying the Arab coalition and holding it together so that he can blunt Iran's sway.
"When they invaded Iraq rather than working on the Palestine problem, W. and Condi helped spur the greater Iranian influence, Islamic extremism and anti-American sentiment that they are now desperately trying to quell."
Those who are praising the summit are doing so without much enthusiasm.
The Wapoo editorial board writes: "The considerable skepticism that surrounds the new talks is justified. Yesterday's meeting resembled the Madrid peace conference arranged by the first Bush administration in 1991, a festival of speeches followed by negotiations that soon bogged down. Yet 16 years later there are some encouraging differences, starting with the far clearer commitment of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make peace."
David Ignatius writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "Something real did happen in Annapolis. The process that began Tuesday may not lead to peace, but that doesn't mean that Annapolis was simply a gaudy, empty show. . . .
"Critics talked for months about how the conference wouldn't happen and wouldn't matter anyway. Well, it did, and it does. A peace process, with all its ambiguity and occasional sophistry, is underway."
The USA Today editorial board writes: "Even at the best of times, issues that Bush and Rice want to resolve by the end of next year -- how to divide Jerusalem, how many Palestinian refugees should be allowed to return home -- are hard and solutions have been elusive.
"Even so, the Mideast peace process has always been about years of frustrating toil punctuated by sudden breakthroughs. By rolling up their sleeves and getting everyone back to the bargaining table, Bush and Rice have taken the first vital step on a journey that eventually may look more promising."
The NY Times editorial board writes: "In his opening speech, President Bush, assured Israel and the Palestinians that 'America will do everything in our power to support their quest for peace.'
"We hope that he means it -- and that he makes that clear to all those White House aides who keep extolling the virtues of not getting too involved.
"If there is any hope of pulling this off, Mr. Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, will have to invest their time, their reputation and their best arm-twisting, including offering bridging proposals to nudge both sides beyond their long-fixed positions. There's no chance at all if Mr. Bush goes back to the sidelines.
Friedman writes in his New York Times opinion column: "President Bush said in opening the Annapolis conference that this was not the end of something, but a new beginning of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. You won't need a Middle East expert to explain to you whether it's working. If you just read the headlines in the coming months and your eyes glaze over, then, as the Israeli columnist Nahum Barnea put it to me, you'll know that Annapolis turned the ignition key 'on a car with four flat tires.'
"But if you pick up the newspaper and see Arab and Israeli moderates doing things that surprise you, and you hear yourself exclaiming, 'Wow, I've never seen that before!' you'll know we're going somewhere."
The LA Times editorial board writes: "Where there is even the faintest hope, we must protect and nourish the fragile embryo of peace."