South Floridians who watch the Israeli/Palestinian situation closely aren't expecting history to be made at Tuesday's international peace conference in Annapolis, Md., but most are trying to be optimistic.
''We see it as a very significant step by the United States in order to contribute to the peace process, but I don't think there will be a breakthrough leading to a peace agreement,'' said Juan Dircie, assistant director of the American Jewish Committee's Greater Miami and Broward chapter.
''You have to show good will,'' said Sofian Zakkout, Miami-based director of Al-Amana, the American Muslim Association of North America. ''We should always be optimistic because there is always a solution.''
HAMAS STAYS AWAY
Representatives of more than 40 nations are attending, but a key player -- Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza -- is not participating and vows to disregard any accord.
Altaf Ali, South Florida executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he hasn't heard much discussion about the session because for many people, "it's just another meeting. There have been so many meetings addressing this one issue and there have not been any substantial gains. Most people are pretty fed up over this issue."
Still, he hopes both sides can find a way to provide security and economic gains. (MORE)