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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Olmert racing to conclude deal with Syria?

In Sunday's Times of London, Uzi Mahnaimi reports that eventually resigning Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert is indeed racing to conclude a 'peace deal' with the Assad regime in Syria. Under the deal's terms, Israel would cede the Golan Heights, and Assad would agree to 'loosen' ties with Iran and not to abide by his mutual defense pact with Tehran in the event that Israel and/or the US decide to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. In fact, Mahnaimi is claiming that Assad is putting Ahmadinejad on notice of the new relations during their Saturday meeting in Tehran.

According to Mahnaimi, Syria has also agreed to close Hamas' Damascus offices and Israel and the US have agreed to take Syria off the terror list and to put it on the US foreign aid list.

There are two problems with this scenario. One is that Israel would be crazy to trust Assad. The second one is that Israel would be crazy to trust Olmert. As Mahnaimi himself points out:
For all Olmert’s efforts it will be almost impossible for him to achieve peace before leaving office. A decision on withdrawal from the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since its victory in the six-day war in 1967, would need the approval of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and possibly a referendum. Recent polls indicate that most Israelis reject a handover, even in return for peace with Syria.

“Anything can happen in the Middle East between now and when Olmert finally steps down,” said a security source.

“It could be an agreement with Syria, but it is rather more likely to be an Israeli attack on Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas or all three.”
I'd go with the polls and the security source on this one. Assad has claimed that Yitzchak Rabin, Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu offered him the entire Golan. Those claims - even if they were true - are at least deniable because they cannot be proven. If Mahnaimi is right, all Olmert will accomplish is to give Assad a much more solid claim that Israel offered him the entire Golan. By giving Assad that backup, Olmert will prevent any real negotiations from taking place or peace from being concluded for generations to come.

Read the whole thing.


At 6:05 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

What we've discovered over the last two years is that what's good for Ehud Olmert isn't good for the State Of Israel and vice versa.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

I'm not so sure about this - not that this traitor would love to further decimate the nation. First of all, any deal on the Golan will have to pass a majority vote in the Knesset. It would also probably be submitted for a national referndum, as well, and that, as we all know, would never pass. The hurdles are a little too high for this moral midget on this one.


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