Tag Archives: Golan Heights

Another Bush Diplomatic Blunder!

A Syrian newspaper, Tishrin, pointed out another example of Bush’s lack of a sophisticated understanding of world affairs. Tishrin referred to the Bush quote in which he referred to Israel as a “Jewish State.” Perhaps, the president is unaware but there are hundreds of thousands of Arab Muslims and Christians who reside in Israel and are citizens of their nation. Most American Jews would feel insulted if the United States was described as a “Christian nation.” Tishrin, probably reflecting government attitudes, termed Annapolis a victory “only for Israel.” It described the conference as a “carnival that reminds us of similar celebrations since oslo until today and of agreements that with time have gone with the wind.”

Arab nations have every right to be disappointed with Annapolis, but so do Israelis. The people of Israel hunger for peace and stability as much as any Palestinian or Syrian. Many agreements have certainly “gone with the wind,” but the blame can equally be shared by Israel and the Palestinians for this situation. Neither side has a monopoly on righteousness nor of being blameless. On the hopeful sign, Canny Yalon, who is close to Defense Minister Barak, urged his nation to immediately engage in negotiations with Syria. “Between us,” he noted, “and Syria there’s only one issue of a border and we were very close in March, 2000.” Why not quickly resolve the issue in order to show all nations in the Middle East that a Muslim nation can resolve long standing issues of conflict with Israel?

Syria Asks For Negotiations Over Golan Heights

The Syrian press urged Israel to enter into negotiations with its government in order to revolve the Golan Heights issue. Teshreen commented: “It is now vital to act seriously to put peace talks back on track. The alternative to this are dangerous to the region and the entire world.” The Syrians claimed they attended the Annapolis conference in order to test America’s sincerity towards peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Hammas which had been barred from the meeting, came out with another bombastic statement urging the UN to end the partition of Palestine and return to some sort of other condition. One can only wonder if such statements would have come from Hammas if their representatives were in a room filled with Arab leaders who are tired of the perennial problem of Palestine and Israel. Bush and Rice blundered by not inviting Hamas since that organization would have moderated their rhetoric and spoken in a more sensible manner. Syria is now speaking about peace and most probably is ready to recognize the existence of Israel if they can achieve successful negotiations. Perhaps, Rice and Bush could learn from this example that talk, talk, is always better than war, war.

Syrian President Bashar Assad Won’t Retaliate

Bashar Assad, president of Syria claimed the recent Israeli air attack on his nation only resulted in damage to a deserted building. He argued Syria had he right to retaliate, but would not take advantage of that right because his nation seeks peace with Israel. Assad also noted Syria might attend the upcoming American sponsored Middle Eastern conference if there was a real possibility of dealing with substantive issues like the Golan Heights.

President Assad runs a right dictatorship in Syria, but he also may well have pragmatic needs for his nation. Return of the Golan Heights is a symbolic issue for his people and his willingness to discuss peace with Israel if he can secure its return is a healthy indication peace is possible. It is ironic that Assad, the dictator, is discussing issues of peace while a democratic Israel is discussing needs for war.