Tag Archives: Syria

Israel-Syria Talks Remain Silent

The Israel government continues insisting its desire to engage in discussions with the government of Syria, and has made clear these talks could begin without any preconditions. At the same time, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon argued it was impossible to engage in discussions with Syria as long as that government maintained its ties with Iran and Hamas. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan visited Damascus in an effort to get discussions back on track and once again serve as a mediator. “We are determined to do all we can for peace in the Middle East.”

The Turkish -Israel relation is vivid proof that Jews and Muslims can work together and maintain peaceful relations. A Turkish mediation effort can serve to bring together Israel and Syria provided the Netanyahu ceases playing word games with the peace process. As Winston Churchill, the great prime minister of England often said: “Jaw, jaw, not war, war.”

Israel Has Met The Enemy And He Is Them!

Throughout its history, leaders of Israel complained they were unable to engage in meaningful dialogue and negotiations with Arabs because none of these nations would acknowledge the existence of their country. A continual Israel problem was refusal on the part of Arab leaders to respect international law by resorting to violence against innocent civilians. Today, the exact same complaints made by Israel towards Arabs is being directed back to the Israel government. Ironically, the American government this week announced it was returning diplomats to Damascus in recognition of President Assad’s commitment to working for peace with Israel and fighting terrorism. He reportedly has agreed to clamp down on terrorists going through his nation on their way to Iraq.

President Assad’s comments this week could readily have been uttered by Golda Meier forty years ago. He said: “achieving peace requires an Israeli partner and commitment to international law. The Israeli partner does not currently exist.”

The Israel press contains right wingers who complain their government wants peace but they have no one to negotiate with for peace. Of course, the reason is simple– Netanyahu refuses to halt West Bank settlements and he imposes conditions that President Abbas must accept while insisting no one has the right to impose conditions on Israel.

David Ben-Gurion is turning over in his grave every time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks.

Syria–Who Do We Talk With In Israel Government?

During the past half century a continual complaint on the part of Israel leaders was their inability to find anyone in an Arab government who was serious about engaging in discussions about future peace. Ironically, this complaint is now being uttered by Arab leaders about the nature of Israel’s government. Syrian leader, President Bashar Assad complained, “we cannot talk about a date (for resuming talks) because we don’t have a partner.” A major problem hindering the pursuit of peace in the Middle East is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has filled his Cabinet with Arab haters like Avigdor Lieberman and this reduces opportunities for intelligent dialogue. On one hand, Israel complains that Hamas has publicly announced its determination to wipe out Israel. Of course, on the other hand, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has made similar remarks about wiping out Arabs.

President Gul of Turkey, who regards his nation as a mediator between Israel and Syria, has noted: “Israel has to show clearly it is a partner.” He pointed out Syria wants to talk, and “we in Turkey are also ready.” So, let’s get on with talks and replace Lieberman with someone who can gain trust of Arabs.

Is Syria Seeking A New Direction?

After many years of being isolated from the world due to Bush hostility and the ongoing war in Iraq which many American leaders said was partially the result of Syrian aiding forces of insurgency, there is a new sense within the nation of opportunities to enter the broader world of non-violent relations. Turkey has assumed a proactive role in assisting Syria to become engaged in discussions with Israel and its young people want something more than being linked with terrorism. The real question is whether Israel’s new government led by Benjamin Netanyahu is prepared to give up the Golan Heights as part of an agreement to end the long war between the two nations.

Syria can play a vital role in fostering peace in the Middle East because persuading it to cease aiding Hezbollah and Hamas will help end financial support for those groups. It can assist the Iraqi government by ensuring its border is closed to militants headed for Iraq. Syria has excellent relations with Iran and it could be an ally in efforts to reach an agreement with the Iranian government.

Of course, much depends on the desire of the new Israel government to trade land for peace.

Syria Ready To Discuss With Israel Government

The emergence of Benjamin Netanyahu as the new head of a right wing dominated government despite the presence of Labor in the coalition does not deem well for peace with Syria. Bashar Assad, president of Syria, expressed a desire for peace but did not expect much from the Netanyahu government. “We don’t expect much in the forseeable future.. since (President Obama) has announced clear positions on Iran and Afghanistan, but we haven’t heard an announced clear position on the peace process.” He can only wonder whether a Netanyahu government will go much beyond saying they want peace but when it comes to specific issues of compromise there is little in the background of the new government to suggest it thinks anything other than Palestinians should agree with their ideas.

There is no force for compromise and peace in the new Israel government. Unless President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exert pressure, the prospect for peace in the Middle East is rather dim.

Syria Ready To Negotiate With Israel- Is Israel Ready?

In the topsy turvy world of Israel politics it is doubtful that a new Israel government would be ready to respond to the new Syrian desire for negotiation about issues of concern between the nations. Over the past decades Israel government after government argued there was no desire on the part of Arab nations for peace, but today, the Arab League has come out for peace based on the 1967 borders and Syrian President Bashar Assad said he was ready to negotiate with any Israel government. “One is bad, the other is awful” and admitted his government would simply ignore the ideology of Israel politics and instead focus on how to reach peace with that nation. Assad said peace with Israel was very possible but normal relations would depend on establishing peaceful relations between Israel and a Palestinian government.

There is simply too much irony in the current situation in which Israel leaders now behave in the same manner they complained Arab leaders were acting twenty years ago. How ironic that Israel now has Arab nations prepared to negotiate for everything it wanted twenty years ago, but the entire process is hampered by decisions on the West Bank and in east Jerusalem. Is it possible for the people of Israel to regain their common sense and a realistic view of life in the Middle East?

Road To Peace Detours Through Damascus?

The majority of Americans still do not grasp the anger felt in many parts of the world by the arrogance of the Bush administration which pursued its version of spreading democracy regardless of the cost. President Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with the British Guardian, expressed his joy that Bush no longer occupies the presidency and that America can begin playing a role in fostering Middle Eastern peace. He believes Obama wants to bring Syria in from the cold and make it an important player in furthering peace in the region. Assad expressed his pleasure that Senator John Kerry and other American politicians are coming to Damascus to discuss issues of peace.

Assad was upset that a planned visit to Syria by General Petreaus was blocked by Bush.”We would like to have dialogue with the US administration. We would like to see him(Petraeus) here in Syria.” However, the Syrian leader was less than optimistic that any meaningful peace could arise from the incoming Israeli government. He also urged the EU and the United States to immediately engage in dialogue with the Iranian government.

Syria Ready To Negotiate With Israel On Golan

Syria has told western officials it is prepared to discuss with Israel the resolution of their conflict over the Golan Heights but first wants to be clear as to exactly what piece of geography constitutes the area being discussed. President Bashar al-Assad will not enter into direct negotiations until both sides have clarified what is the area that constitutes the Golan Heights. Israel captured the plateau during the Six Day war in 1967 and then annexed the area ten years later despite being reprimanded by the UN Security Council. Assad’s father refused to sign any agreement that did not include the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, a main water reservoir.

There are two issues in conflict– the actual geographical entity that is known as the Golan Heights and the desire of Israel to receive assurances from Syria that it will cease funding terrorism in Gaza and Lebanon and to end its close ties with Iran. The issues in the past were geographical, but now they include political ones. Syria has to decide if it wants the return of the Golan Heights and what is it willing to give in exchange?

Obama-Talk To Iran, Says Iraq Government

The government of Iraq is urging the new Obama administration to attempt a new approach and enter into discussions with both Iran and Syria. Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the Iraq government said: “I call on the new administration to open dialogue with Iran to resolve the exceptional problems which are affecting stability in the region.” Prime Minister Maliki’s government even offered to assist in creating conditions for dialogue. “Whether the US would llike Iraq to initiate tht dialogue with Syria we are ready.” The bottom line for Iraq is to ensure there is dialogue between the United States and Iran in order to end the turmoil which now causes so mush terrorism.

There is no evidence that George Bush’s approach of war, war, and bombing has resulted in anything other than creating thousands of new terrorists and causing new area of complete disruption. Obama hinted during the campaign he was open to the idea of having discussions without preconditions and hopefully, he has not changed his mind on that point. As the great British prime minister Winston Churchill used to say: “Jaw, jaw, not war, war.”

Israel Wants Syria To Cut Ties With Terrorism

President Shimon Peres bluntly told the Syrian government it could not have peace with Israel and the return of the Golan Heights so long as it continues being friends with Iran and funding terrorist groups like Hizbullah and Hamas. Peres said his nation could not tolerate an Iranian presence on its border, particularly one in which terrorist groups are being supplied with arms that will be used against Israel forces. As of this point, Syria has yet to give any indication it is willing to pay the price of the return of the Golan Heights in exchange for cutting ties with terrorists. British Foreign Secretary Dvi Miliband urged Syria to engage in dialogue with Israel and to re-evaluate its connections to Iran and Hizbullah and Hamas.

Perhaps, this situation could best be handled by having a Middle East summit at which all parties, terrorist or not, come together to work out a compromise. Turkey is the logical mediator in such a conference.