Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Syrian Peace Talks

Things seem pretty confusing at this point, so what I am writing here in this post is just the way they reflect to this average Isralei mom. I mean, I will be the first to admit that I just don't have the time to follow the news properly. But, my husband gave me a quick update on the way to the amusement park a couple of days ago (it's the Hannuka holiday, so we try to spend the week having fun with the little ones). So, basically it looks like there are news that Syria is tyring to approach Israel, offering to start peace negotiations with no preliminary conditions. And apparently, Olmert is replying in the negative.

Now, I have heard Olmert in the past, explaining on national TV why he thinks talks with Syria is a bad idea. According to what he said, Syria remains a "bad" state, or a rouge state if you like, part of the famous Bushian axis of evil or whatnot. So, he figures negotiations with Syria can't really lead anywhere, because Syria actively supports Hezbulla and Hammas, i.e. the bad terrorists, and therefore, any negotiaions are bound to fail. He is afraid that once negotiations explode, this very event is likely to start a war in our region. I now hear he has an additional argument, that the US and Europe say we shouldn't talk to the Syrians (for the same reasons).

Now, IMO, Olmert is making a big big mistake. I'm sorry, but nothing justified missing an opportunity for peace talks with Syria. Nothing does. I don't care what any other country tells us. I don't care who Assad supports. The whole Hezbulla/Hammas issue is just the kind of thing which should be discussed within the framework of negotiations. Finally, a chance to actually try and sort things out. Give Syria a ladder to get off the tall tree which they climbed. Give them back the Golan Heights, as a demilitarized zone, and make Assad's day in terms of national pride. Then, from that position, he can maybe cut off his ties with Iran and the terrorist groups. What a terrible blow this will be to Hezbulla and Hammas! Cutting off their weapon supplies route from Iran! What a great opportunity for the moderate Palestinians to finally weaken Hammas and take over their government and bring their people closer to their own State and peace too!

There is one country I know will not be happy about this. That is Lebanon of course. From what I gather, most Lebanese hate Syria because Syria thinks of Lebanon as part of the Greater Syria. I'm not an expert, but from what little talks I've had with Syrians (online of course), I take it it's a commonly shared view over there. One Syrian I talked to said something along the lines of "let's split Lebanon between us, Israel can have the south, we'll take the north". I was shocked by the way he said it, just so matter of fact. lol took a while for me to convince him that we have zero interest in taking over any part of Lebanon whatsoever. However, if this is how Syria and the Syrians see Lebanon, then I can certainly see why the Lebanese would fear a peace agreement between Syrian and Israel, something that might strengthern Syria greatly in the long run. I think this is the reason why France objects to Israel-Syrian peace talks too? not sure about that last statement, but this is what I've heard.

Well, to my Lebanese friends I can only say, again, that Israel does not want any part of Lebanon. We want a safe and peaceful border, that's all. And peace between Israel and Syria, and weakening the HA can bring us all closer to that. Who knows, following Syria, maybe Lebanon itself will enter negotiations with Israel and reach a peace agreement?

I was born back when Israel had peace with no Arab country. We grew up dreaming of peace with our neighbors. We have acheived that with Egypt and Jordan. The very thought of maybe, just maybe, reaching a state of peace with all neighboring countries sends shivers down my spine, for real. I so hope that our government will find the courage to take this historical step and negotiate with Syria.

I could go on and on with my rant, but I really need to go now. Got back from the gym not too long ago and I need a good long shower. What was I doing in the gym? well, try my new weight loss blog to see ;)


Steve said...

Good post. Olmert sounds more than willing to shuck the responsibility for the whole mess off on the next guy. And Bush follows a very, very distant drummer, not even in concert with what his own nation wants. He has stood by his absurd proposition of resisting talks with Iran and Syria like a whore by a streetlamp. Meanwhile not recognizing the obvious overtures both Syria and Iran have offered in the past. Nor does he realize the efficacy of Iran possibly playing a role in pacifying the Shiites in Iraq. Poor SOB is one lost little boy and Olmert is using it to slack off and, my guess, make the golf course instead.

Don Cox said...

The real objection to talking to the Syrian regime is that it is a waste of time, because they are a mafia, not a proper government. They will tell any lies that suit them, and make any false promises that serve their immediate purpose. Assad's signature on a document isn't worth the ink it's written with. One day, the Syrians will get rid of that gang, and then there may be somebody to talk to.

IsrealiMom said...

"They will tell any lies that suit them, and make any false promises that serve their immediate purpose."

Doesn't that describe politicans in general? ;)

They may not be the partners of choice, but they are our current partners. They manage to keep the borders under control, and therefore provide with guarantees for negotiations. Personally, I'm not sure that we have the privilige of waiting it all out...