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Monday, August 21, 2006

Pandering to Syria

You have to wonder what it will take for the suicidal politicians in this country to learn their lesson. Last week, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the chinless ophthalmologist, made what he thinks about Israel clear in no uncertain terms:
In his first public speech since the ceasefire in Lebanon, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proclaimed victory to Hizballah today, and said that the US policy to reshape the Middle East has failed. He added that “Israel does not want peace. Israel is the enemy and we hate it. Resistance is the only way to go.”


President Assad also addressed the Israeli people saying that “You have tasted the price of war in Lebanon. Your weapons, including your nuclear weapons, will not be able to protect you. Our generations are growing and will be able to defeat you.”
So how does Israel react?

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni, who speaks no English and knows nothing about diplomacy, appointed Yaakov Dayan, former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom's former Chief of Staff, to draw up a document "dealing with the Israeli - Syrian relationship," a document whose significance was promptly downplayed by the government this morning.

Ido Aharoni, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's media adviser who prepared a similar document on Syria in 2000, said that no special significance should be read into the project or the timing of the appointment. Dayan was appointed a few weeks ago, after the war in Lebanon had already begun.

"This has nothing to do with the possibility of resuming the diplomatic process with Syria," Aharoni said. "This is what the Foreign Ministry routinely does - it provides decision makers with intelligent and reliable assessments on a variety of issues."

Aharoni said Dayan is to "map out" everything that has happened before with the Syrians "to provide the system with an updated document."

And then former Shin Bet Chief and current Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, of the Kadima Achora party, tells Army Radio that he is in favor of withdrawing from the Golan Heights in return for a 'true peace' with Syria.
We have paid similar territorial concessions in the past when we signed peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt.

Any diplomatic initiative is preferred over war, whether in Syria or Lebanon. With regards to Lebanon, conditions are even more welcoming than they are with Syria. Lebanon can today begin talks with Israel without the Syrians.

Talks with Syria are legitimate. If there is someone to talk to on the other side, we should talk. Israel can initiate this or turn to a third party.
This from the people who brought you the unilateral expulsion of Jews from the Gaza Strip, and the turning of the Judenrein strip into a launching pad for terrorist organizations.

How does Syria differ from Egypt and Jordan? Let me count the ways:

1. Before Israel entered into negotiations with Egypt, Sadat came to Israel and publicly announced to the Knesset that he was willing to live in peace with Israel.

2. Before Israel entered into negotiations with Jordan, King Hussein was conducting secret talks and coordinating with Israel for years.

3. The land that Israel gave to Egypt, while having value for its natural resources, does not provide Egypt with an ongoing advantage in future wars.

4. Israel did not give any land to Jordan, although it did agree to lease some land on a permanent basis.

Now compare this with Syria.

1. Assad is not willing to make any move towards 'peace.'

2. The Golan Heights has tremendous strategic significance because it has a commanding view of all of northern Israel.

3. Syria's starting point in negotiations is and continues to be "first give us the entire Golan and then we will talk about everything else." Ehud Barak tried to give them the entire Golan six years ago and the negotiations failed because he wanted to keep a few feet to the east of the Sea of Galilee.

There's nothing to discuss with Syria. And there's not likely to be anything to discuss anytime soon. Syria is a weak regime that is deeply in trouble. It's time to stop trying to find things to give away and to leave well enough alone.

It's also time to relegate Kadima Achora to the trash bins of history, along with such other flash in the pan Israeli political parties as the 'Center Party,' 'Rafi' and 'Yachad.' And before Achora relegates the State of Israel to the trash bin of history.


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