Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Thursday, January 18, 2007

'Syria serious about peace talks'

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/01/syria-serious-about-peace-talks.html

'Syria serious about peace talks'

Syria is serious about resuming peace talks with Israel, and during the summer's Lebanon war even proposed holding a secret emergency meeting with Israeli officials in Europe, a retired Israeli diplomat said Thursday.

Israel's leaders quickly distanced themselves from unofficial talks the Israeli, former Foreign Ministry director general Alon Liel, held with a Syrian. Liel, going public for the first time Thursday, said he briefed government officials every step of the way.

He said he believed his counterpart, Syrian-American businessman Ibrahim Suleiman, also had channels to the Syrian government.

"Our testimony is that it is very clear to us that Assad wants to talk," said Liel, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On Tuesday when the talks were leaked in a newspaper report, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed the talks. "I knew of nothing. No one in the government was involved in this matter. It was a private initiative on the part of an individual who spoke with himself," Olmert told reporters. "From what I read, his interlocutor was an eccentric from the United States, someone not serious or dignified."

Syrian officials said Tuesday that reports of an agreement were "baseless."

In June, the participants wrote a two-page "non-paper" to sum up their talks, Liel said. The centerpiece was a proposal to turn part of the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast War and annexed in 1981, into a "peace park." Syria would be the sovereign in all of the Golan, but Israelis could visit the park freely, without visas.

The Israeli side proposed a Golan pullout over 15 years, the Syrians over five.
Previous peace talks collapsed in 2000 because of a dispute over where the Israeli-Syrian border should run. Syria said any peace deal would have to restore Syrian sovereignty over all the territory captured in 1967, while Israel feared a complete withdrawal could endanger its security and access to water sources, noting that the international border does not reach the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Liel and Suleiman were brought together by Geoffrey Aronson, head of the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington. Eight meetings were held, Liel said, including several reportedly under the auspices of the Swiss.

Liel would not say who his hosts were, but said he believed they used their own diplomatic contacts to check whether the messages coming out of the talks were reaching the Syrian government.

The last meeting took place in late July, during the Israel-Lebanon war, Liel said. On that day, several Israelis were killed by rockets fired by the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, which Israel says is backed and funded by Syria and Iran.

"It was a very difficult day, and the Syrian party suggested that since it's a war and an emergency situation, let's have a very quick track one meeting, high-level meeting, on the level of deputy ministers ... with an American in the room," Liel told a conference at the Netanya Academic College.

Liel said he told Israeli government officials of the offer, and pleaded with them to accept. "And the answer was `no, no we don't want to meet them'," he said.
He said he believes the Israeli government is reluctant to resume peace talks with Syria because the idea of giving up the Golan is unpopular in Israel and because it would counter Washington's policy of trying to isolate Syria.

Liel said he made it very clear at the beginning of each meeting that he did not represent the Israeli government, but that he routinely updated Israeli officials, as well as the Turkish government, after each round. The Turkish government had initially been approached by the participants as a possible sponsor, but turned them down.
Aronson said the time is ripe for a resumption of peace talks, though he acknowledged that Syria could just be feigning interest in resuming talks to get into Washington's good graces. "There is a reasonable basis to assume that well-intentioned official representatives have something to talk about when they sit down," he said.

 

Labels: ,


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/01/syria-serious-about-peace-talks.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment



<< Home


FREE EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION
Subscribe to
ZNN
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by groups.yahoo.com


Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israpundit
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Z-Word
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
UN-Biased
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Zionism
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
Liberticracia
CNPublications
SEO

Reference
Zionism
Anti-Semitism
Anti-Zionism
Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Bible
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Islamism
Jihad
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Israel
Jew
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism
Russian

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Experimental
Isfake lobby
Mysterology

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products
Mezuzah

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory