Posted by Alex on Monday, January 21st, 2008
My name is Alon Liel. I am chairing these days the Israeli-Syrian Peace Society that I helped found exactly one year ago. I am an ex-Israeli diplomat and a university lecturer today, who strongly believes it is high time that Israel and Syria sign a peace treaty and normalize their relations.
I am writing you because I’ve been following “Syria Comment” and “Creative Syria” over the past year, and was impressed by the level and quality of discussion reached by your readers and writers. Your topics are interesting, important, and very relevant to Syria, as well as to the region as a whole.
It is precisely at these turbulent times in our region, when Arabs and Israelis are once more engaged in a renewed wave of violence, that I wish to turn to your readers. While most people today may feel that the continued suffering of so many is only further evidence of an impasse that can only be resolved by force, there are some who still believe otherwise. Not all the opportunities have been explored, not all the suggestions have been seriously contemplated.
Seeing the devotion and sincerity of your readers, I would like to introduce to them some of the ideas that were brought forth at past and recent opportunities, and ask for their opinion. As we believe that Syria is one of the key players in our war-torn region (perhaps THE key player), it could be of great benefit to receive honest and constructive feedback from Syrian citizens about existing and potential initiatives. I understand that there may be an innate reluctance to interact with Israelis, even online, but I strongly believe that the best way to influence our future is to engage one another in open discussion, and to try to bring about ideas and solutions that are long overdue.
I’m attaching an article written by me some months ago and published in Bitterlemons (a Palestinian-Israeli journal), which outlines some of the ideas that were brought forth at our Track II discussions. This can serve as a starter for the discussions I’m hoping to engage your readers in. I want to also extend a very warm invitation to anyone visiting your blog, to also visit our own website (www.is-peace.org/EN), and to participate in discussions there as well. We have so much to learn from one another, and perhaps it is time we do so.