Archive for the ‘Syria’ category

Does Rejecting the Mecca Accord Give Hamas a Veto Over the Peace Process?

February 27, 2007

In yesterday’s Haaretz, long-time columnist Akiva Eldar chastises the U.S. for effectively blocking peace talks between Israel and Syria, and potentially Israel and the Palestinians.  He says, “If Syria is the enemy of Middle East peace, then perpetuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be considered a handsome consolation prize for Damascus. And why would Hamas, which is bending over backwards not to recognize Israel’s right to exist, want to remove the obstacles to such an arrangement? If the U.S. and its Quartet partners, not to mention the Israeli government, truly want to bypass Hamas on the road to the final- status agreement, then why are they granting it veto power over the peace process?”

He explains his logic, and argument for pursuing peace now with both the Syrians and Palestinians in his article, which follows the jump.  He also highlights an important forthcoming date in Mecca that will force Hamas to either accept the existence of Israel, or turn against its Arab brethren.  That will be a meeting to watch.



Bashar Assad Speaks Out on Peace: Is This an Opening or Part of his Waiting Game?

October 11, 2006

Despite seeing no movement on the Israeli-Syrian peace track since the Sheperdstown, West Virginia peace talks collapsed in 2000, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly told the BBC that Israel and Syria could one day forge a peace.  When asked whether Israel and Syria would one day be able to live side-by-side in peace, each accepting the other’s existence, he answered, “Yes, the answer is yes.”  At the same time, though, he said, “It’s not only the problem between the two parties.  You need arbiter, you need impartial arbiter [and the United States could not fulfill that role].”  He said, “So far the United States doesn’t have the will to play this role, and it doesn’t have the vision towards peace.”

This interview came a few days after reports surfaced in the Israeli press that the United States was urging Israel not to respond to Syria’s call for discussions.  According to the Jerusalem Post, “While Assad was calling for talks with Israel, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was busy appealing to world leaders to impose new sanctions against Syria because of its support for terrorist groups.”  Secretary Rice said directly to the press, “We’re going to have to look at tougher measures if Syria continues to be on the path that it’s on.”  (more…)

Opening the Door to Syria

August 18, 2006

By Ralph Seliger, editor of the Meretz USA quarterly magazine, ISRAEL HORIZONS, and editor of Meretz USA’s weblog at .

I’ve had this seemingly outlandish idea for over a month now, even before it was proposed in articles in Haaretz, Ynet and elsewhere by such leading Zionist doves as Yossi Beilin and Gershon Baskin: The one silver lining to the Lebanon war, and the best solution for Israeli security, is the renewed possibility of a peace treaty with Syria.

We should recall that Israel and Syria came close to a peace agreement two or three times in the 1990s, with the most recent failure being the breakdown of negotiations between Ehud Barak and the elder President Assad over a sliver of a few meters one way or the other at the eastern edge of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).  This was the great failing that led to the unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon and its transformation into a bastion for Hezbollah aggression. Yet, later entreaties from the younger Assad for new negotiations were ignored by Prime Minister Sharon.