Background: Why Israeli and Syrian positions are deemed unbridgeable

Whereas Israeli prime minister claims his goal in initiating indirect peace talks with Syria is to disengage the Assad regime from Tehran and its sponsorship of terror, Damascus declares the return of the Golan, a rocky plateau 1,250 square kilometers in area, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, is non-negotiable.
Saturday, May 24, three days after Israel and Syria announced that peace talks had begun through Turkey’s good offices, Syria’s defense minister Hassan Turkmani went to Tehran to strengthen his government’s military and defense ties with Iran. The Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s marked the occasion with the comment that Israel is in no position to bargain over the Golan.
Opposite the hard line from Damascus, two-thirds of an Israeli crosscut segment polled this week, were against ceding Golan to Syria, for which a national referendum would be required. Its value to Israel as a strategic asset is beyond price.
In 1967, Israel captured the territory after years in which Syrian soldiers had shelled Galilee and the Huleh Valley with rockets. It was annexed it in 1981, a step which no country recognized. The divided town of Kuneitra was handed back to Syria.
About 18,000 Jews live in 32 villages and a town and roughly the same number of Syrians, mostly Druzes. The last round of peace talks took place in 2000 when Damascus rejected Israel’s offer to withdraw from Golan to the pre-1967 international border for full peace, and demanded the addition of a strip of land on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email