Question asked of Jerusalem Post columnists: "Which scenarios do you think would unfold in the event that the Annapolis parley fails?" For all replies, see "Burning Issues #43: The day after Annapolis"
The consequences of Annapolis failing depend on whom the U.S. government blames. If it basically faults the Palestinian side, as happened in 2000, then nothing much changes. The Palestinians enjoy an unlimited credit line. They can (as Abba Eban put it) "never miss a chance to miss a chance" and still get yet another chance.
But should the Bush administration primarily fault the Israeli side, watch out. In that case, I wrote last month in the Jerusalem Post, a possible crisis in U.S.-Israel relations of unprecedented proportions could result, one "worse than 1975 or even 1957. That's because, in part, the stakes are so high. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has stated that ‘the United States sees the establishment of a Palestinian state, a two-state solution, as absolutely essential to the future of not just Palestinians and Israelis but also to the Middle East and, indeed, to American interests.' If a Palestinian state is ‘absolutely essential … to American interests," whoever stands in its way will presumably pay a heavy price. U.S.-Israel relations are especially vulnerable these days, as elite American opinion has, in an unprecedented way, turned against Israel.