“Negotiations with Syria Not in Israel’s Interest,” by Giora Eiland

Renewed Negotiations with Syria: Currently Not in Israel's Interest
By Giora Eiland
Strategic Assessment, Vol. 9, No. 4, March 2007
The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University 

I am among those who believe that a political settlement is a good thing. Rafael (Raful) Eitan was once asked if he supported a peace settlement between Israel and Syria based on the principle of land for peace, and he said, "Certainly. If they give us more land, I will be happy to go toward them in peace. . . "

A peace treaty is better than a situation without peace. It is certainly better than war, but one must determine what kind of peace is offered versus the alternatives. In fact, doesn't the peace agreement on the Syrian agenda create a reality that is liable to lead to war more quickly than the absence of an agreement?

One of the issues most commonly raised in Israeli public discourse is: is Basher Asad serious? is he interested? is he willing? This is followed by: is he capable? These are important questions, but not the most important ones. The most important question is: what do we want? Answering this question requires a brief look at Israel's interests in this situation compared with other alternatives. My conclusion differs from the common assumption that if Asad is serious we should initiate peace talks with Syria.

There are five reasons why Israel should not engage now in negotiations with Syria over a peace treaty similar to the one discussed seven years ago, and especially if there are chances that the negotiations might succeed.

What the Agreement Lacks

The first reason concerns what cannot be obtained through an Israeli-Syrian peace settlement. First, a treaty with Syria will not remove the Iranian threat, which is mainly a nuclear threat. Syria needs Iran but Iran does not need Syria, and certainly not on the nuclear issue. Whether or not Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions depends on matters in which Syria plays practically no part or none at all. Thus, this threat is talked about – with some justification – as a viable and growing threat, and it will continue irrespective of a peace treaty with Syria or lack thereof.

A peace treaty with Syria does not solve the Palestinian problem. The dispute between Israel and Syria is ultimately a territorial dispute between two countries. There are dozens of such disputes around the world. Some have been going on for decades and even centuries. There are conflicts that are solved, some that are not solved, and some will never be settled.

Not only would a solution to the Israeli-Syrian conflict not help solve Israel's problem with the Palestinians; it even exacerbates almost every aspect of the problem. If Israel advances on one axis, it is unlikely to be able to advance on another. Yet to the Palestinians, a resolution of the Syrian dispute would be a kind of slap in the face and would likely prompt a new and growing intifada. In addition, if there were any thoughts of reaching a peace agreement at some time with the Palestinians based on borders that are not identical to the June 4, 1967 borders, reaching an agreement with the Syrians that validates the borders of June 4, 1967 will make it very difficult to effect the changes needed in a resolution with the Palestinians.

A peace treaty with Syria will not solve the problem of Lebanon, and herein lies the big difference from the past. Had Israel reached a peace settlement with Syria six or seven years ago, it could have done so with Lebanon as well. As such, the Lebanese would have been forced – together with Hizbollah – to swallow the bitter pill and agree to a Syrian dictate, including disarmament of Hizbollah. That was then, while Syria was in control in Lebanon. Today the situation is different. Now Israel could reach a peace agreement with Syria without its impacting in any way – and certainly not decisively – on the situation in Lebanon. The Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon bolstered Hizbollah and reinforced Iranian intervention in Lebanon. Thus, if there is a peace treaty with Syria, Hizbollah will remain unaffected, and the Lebanese problem will be aggravated.

Peace with Syria will not lead to any comprehensive agreement vis-?-vis Israel's relations with the Arab world, as the root of the hostility between Israel and the Arab states that have not signed a peace treaty with Israel is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thus if this problem is not solved, another peace treaty with an additional country – Syria – will at best be like the treaty with Jordan; in other words it will not impact measurably and certainly not solve any significant problem.

Finally, an agreement would not solve the problem of Israel's standing in the world, as in this area as well, a kind of myth has evolved, namely, the real problem is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a treaty with one more country will not enhance Israel's international standing at all.

These five interests will not be achieved or advanced through a peace agreement with Syria. It remains to be seen, therefore, whether the give and take of direct negotiations with Syria is in Israel's interest. In this context, there are four more reasons why Israel does not currently have any interest in peace talks with Syria.

The American Factor

Of lesser importance though not irrelevant is the fact that right now, the United States has no interest in encouraging a peace treaty between Israel and Syria. This is a secondary consideration, since if peace with Syria had immediate value for Israel, Israel would try to persuade the US to change its mind on the matter. But as of now, the clear American approach – both the official approach and the behind-the-scenes one – is that the United States has no interest in Israel arriving at a peace agreement with Syria. Would it be right to "confront" America over this particular issue? And if so, would an agreement with Syria earn us all the potential America rewards, compared with the benefits bestowed by the United States following agreements it was eager to promote?

The Agreement's Lifespan

At issue is the potential stability of such an agreement and what would happen if it did not last. Syria is a minority-ruled country. The minority is the Alawi sect, which comprises only 14 percent of the country's population and is looked upon by the Sunni majority as inferior and not genuinely Muslim. In a situation of this sort there is no certainty with regard to the fate of such a treaty once the rule of the country is removed from the Alawis.

Since Basher Asad assumed the presidency, two main factors have kept the Alawi minority in power. The first is the support of Iran, though this could be withdrawn at any point. This support is not only military and political, but also of a religious nature in the sense that the Shiite establishment in Iran recognizes the Alawis as legitimate Muslims and therefore does not challenge the Islamic authenticity of the regime.

The second factor is that Syria is ruled by an emergency regime that enables the government to intervene anywhere where there is commercial, financial, or political activity. All this is based on the argument that an Israeli attack is expected and that emergency laws are essential for defense of the country. Once there is peace between Israel and Syria and thousands of Israeli tourists begin swarming into Syria, this argument will no longer be relevant. The Sunni majority, with a considerable degree of justification, will demand its share of power and will ultimately assume control in Syria. The Sunnis' strength will increase dramatically with the collapse of their great enemy, the Alawi regime. There is no guarantee that a Sunni government of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria would honor a peace treaty signed by "the non-legitimate heretics of the Alawi minority." In other words, Israel may sign a peace treaty whereby the chances of its longevity are highly doubtful.

Security Issues

Even if it is possible to reach a security agreement between Israel and Syria, I believe such an agreement would be unreasonable, and I would even define it is as dangerous. There are two explanations for this: the deterrence concept, and erosion of capabilities and deterrence.

What is deterrence? What is the model of the security agreement? The model is based on the sufficient eastward withdrawal of the Syrian tanks. If Syria decided to breach the peace treaty and move its tanks to the Golan Heights, Israel would have sufficient time to dispatch its forces, which would be stationed to the west of the Jordan River, and be able to repossess the Golan Heights. This would mean that the battle between Israel and the Syrians would once again take place on the Golan Heights. However, this approach is based on four assumptions that are problematic at best, if not outright unlikely.

  • The Syrians will adhere religiously to the agreement and the demilitarization and will not undermine the treaty. This seems to me highly unlikely, if not impossible.
  • If there is any Syrian movement or there is a Syrian decision to engage in military action, Israel's intelligence will identify and interpret this correctly. The world, including the Middle East, has witnessed dozens of examples of intelligence errors in understanding the other side's intentions. This is aggravated by an element of deceit, whereby the other sides tries to "convince" you that the real story is otherwise. It is very risky to formulate a security concept on faith in perfect intelligence
  • The Israeli government, as soon as it identifies any intention of war, will make the right decisions, including mobilizing the reserve forces and instructing the IDF to move into Syrian territory on the Golan Heights. The "game" between us and the Syrians is not balanced. The Golan Heights can be demilitarized on both sides, but it would be Syrian. Entry there by the Syrian army would only be an infringement of a treaty; Israeli entry there would a declaration of war. Thus, taking such a decision quickly and in real time is problematic.
  • Israel can comfortably contend with a new military reality on the Golan Heights. In fact, the relatively simple current reality (an area that is mostly uninhabited, without irrigation channels and other "civilian obstacles") would probably change and the military difficulties would increase accordingly.

Any peace agreement will naturally impact on capabilities and deterrence. Assume that the terms of the settlement in question are the same ones we would have reached in 2000. This settlement offers a solution for one security problem but does not solve two far more serious security problems. The settlement provides a solution for the issue of Syrian tanks. Assume that the Syrian tanks will move back to an adequate point, and that deterrence – despite its four (problematic) assumptions – will be maintained. Even this optimistic scenario does not solve the two more serious problems.

The first is the arsenal of surface-to-surface missiles in Syria, including missiles with chemical capabilities that can strike any location in Israel. The second is that as soon as the Syrians control the whole of the Golan Heights, a large number of towns like Bint Jbail will be established along the Jordan River. This will enable them to maintain many "civilian" soldiers with advanced anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons. No demilitarization will be able to supervise such a development. Then, even if Israel succeeds in maintaining deterrence and had enough time to take the Golan Heights (before the Syrian tanks get there), it would have to break through a line of towns like Bint Jbail built along the Jordan River. There is no appropriate military answer to this situation, and again, a demilitarization settlement does not provide a total solution.

In terms of security, agreeing to such a treaty would mean taking an unreasonable risk unless Israel changes its security concept relating to warfare on the Golan Heights. This means that from now on, Israel understands that should war break out with Syria it will not be waged along the Golan Heights ridge and eastward; rather, it would start from the Jordan River and proceed towards Safed and Tiberias, "and we will somehow manage." While it is true that Israel encountered this challenge in 1948 and 1967, I would not advise revisiting this situation a third time.

Today Israel's security concept vis-?-vis Syria is based on the fact that as long as the IDF is stationed on the Golan Heights, the military result will be attained through Israel's ability to create an immediate threat to governmental assets, including IDF forces reaching Damascus. As the Syrians are aware of this, an effective deterrence has been maintained over the years. Israel's solution to the Syrian threat, including the threat of surface-to-surface missiles and non-conventional weapons, is the deterrence capability, meaning that the Syrians are aware of the price its government is liable to pay if its starts a war. When the military reality changes, Syria's temptation to attack will increase.

A stable reality, with or without a treaty, is maintained (particularly in the Middle East) only when the cost of breaching it is greater than the expected benefit. It is not maintained only because there is an agreement or because there is international supervision. I do not see how such a mechanism can be generated if Israel withdraws from the Golan Heights.

The Ethos

Ethos is also a subject that should be addressed. The question is in what sort of country we in Israel want to live. Israel may be able to reach a peace agreement, and assume that solutions can be found on the Golan Heights and elsewhere. The question is whether we want to live in a country that within thirty or forty years will be full of concrete, with all that that entails. The Israeli people have a genuine need to live in an area with space, views, water, and agriculture and, yes, rich in Jewish history.

In this respect the Golan Heights is more than a security requirement. It is part of the ethos of the Israeli and there is no need to apologize for it. I was asked about this in a radio interview: "Wait a minute, so what are you saying?" the interviewer asked me, "are we doomed to stay on the Golan Heights forever?" – as if we were talking about some form of punishment.

What Then?

These five reasons indicate to me that even if there are seemingly positive conditions, in the sense that Basher Asad is willing and possibly able, it would not be right to reach a peace agreement based on such substantive, tangible Israeli concessions for such poor returns.

At this point, the necessary question is: Will Israel be in this situation forever? And does this eternity likely guarantee more wars? The answer goes beyond the issue addressed here and touches on the general challenge of settling the Israeli-Arab conflict – and whether it can be solved only in accordance with the Arab dogma whereby Israel returns all the occupied territories in return for peace. In other words, there can only be peace if Israel gives up all the territories and returns to the 1967 borders. I think this is the wrong narrative.

This incorrect version is not ours. Unlike others, I do not believe that this is or has to be the only narrative.

Postscript: The Lebanon Issue

My last point concerns the issue of Lebanon. It seems that one of the parameters that has changed in the last seven years, even if there is disagreement over other aspects to the argument presented here, is Syria's ability to compel Lebanon, all its forces there notwithstanding, to honor an agreement between Syria and Israel.

About two and half to three years ago there was debate in Israel about whether Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon was a positive development. The decided position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was that it was good for Israel that the Syrians leave Lebanon. This position was adopted by Prime Minister Sharon and became official policy.

There were others who thought differently. It wasn't as if Israel was the main factor and certainly other parties decided on Syria's withdrawal of its forces from Lebanon, but Israel undoubtedly encouraged them as much as it could. I believe that was a serious historic error. It would have been better for Israel had Syria remained in Lebanon. The Syrian interest in Lebanon was at least on a par with its interest in the Golan Heights. It would have better for the Syrians to be engaged in maintaining their assets in Lebanon. Now, having lost them, what remains is to fight for the next asset – the Golan Heights.

There is another issue here, and I will inject a personal angle at this point. I did not participate in any negotiations with Syria, but I was part of the team that, as a secondary effort, prepared a possible treaty between Israel and Lebanon. In other words, in 2000, talks were progressing with Syria at the same time that a draft of a treaty with Lebanon was being prepared. At the time I was head of the IDF's Operations Branch, which addressed the security implications. The position was approved by the political leadership. We believed that Syrian presence in Lebanon was preferred, or at least, Israel had no interest in insisting on the opposite. We said: as long as the status quo in Lebanon is maintained and the Syrians stay there and move no further south and do not introduce their air force or missiles, the situation is tolerable end even desirable.

Syria's withdrawal about two years ago started a process that is, of course, bad for the Syrians. However, this does not necessarily mean it is good for us. This shows that when it comes to interests, there are sometimes strange convergences. The withdrawal of the Syrians from Lebanon did not match Syria's interest or Israel's. The sum-zero thinking that if it is bad for our enemies it is good for us is not necessarily correct. Israel's enthusiasm two years ago in encouraging the Americans, the French, and the UN to pressure the Syrians to withdraw from Lebanon was a mistake.

Comments (32)


1. other_way said:

Hmmm… Even though Syria is no longer in Lebanon, the relationship between Hizbullah and Syria remains close, and in Palestine, Hamas clearly has seen Syria as a primary benefactor. It is inaccurate to claim that a peace between Israel and Syria would not advance peace processes in the cases of Lebanon and Palestine. The idea of a multilateral peace between Arabs and Israelis has consistently proved illusive, while unilateral deals, such as Egypt and Jordan, have at least gotten some results. Any opportunity to make peace with an Arab state is clearly in Israel’s long-term interest.

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April 17th, 2007, 6:16 pm

 

2. ausamaa said:

“Negotiations with Syria Not in Israel’s Interest,”

And have never been!!!

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April 17th, 2007, 7:02 pm

 

3. ausamaa said:

Giora Eiland says:
“Israel’s enthusiasm two years ago in encouraging the Americans, the French, and the UN to pressure the Syrians to withdraw from Lebanon was a mistake.”

Any other Israeli “mistakes” Eiland wants to admit while we are at it?

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April 17th, 2007, 7:06 pm

 

4. JB said:

This article is pure crap. It does as if Syria was not instrumental in supporting Hezbollah (75% of Hezbollah weapons come to the Biq’a through Damascus airport), Hamas and Islamic Jihad. As if getting the Golan back would not strengthen Bashar in power. As if the Israeli army was not overwhelmingly superior to the Syrian war in such a way that distances to Damascus don’t matter.

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April 17th, 2007, 7:51 pm

 

5. ausamaa said:

This is also very cute and revealing at the same time:

Giora Eiland (from the Tel Aviv Jaffi Center forSTRATEGIC Studies!) says:”The Israeli people have a genuine need to live in an area with space, views, water, and agriculture and, yes, rich in Jewish history.”

How about extending the Israeli “necessary” living space to include a veranda with a view of the Nile and a patio overlooking Tigris. A drawing room with a window towards the Arabian Sea perhaps? And wouldnt Israelies like their garden exended to include rich-in-Jewish-history Eroupe? That would be very nice too, would it not?

By God.. Criminal Greed, Stupidity and Chutzpah can be summed up in one six-lettered word: “ISRAEL”

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April 17th, 2007, 8:09 pm

 

6. SimoHurtta said:

The Israeli people have a genuine need to live in an area with space, views, water, and agriculture and, yes, rich in Jewish history.

The Nazis called it Lebensraum. And non Jews have not the same need of space, views, water and agriculture?

Why does Giora Eiland even bother to list his reasons, which are mostly so far fetched that it makes one laugh. No peace with Syria because it doesn’t solve the Iran’s nuclear problem, no peace with Syria because it doesn’t solve the Palestine problem etc.

Why doesn’t he say straight we do not give anything and we want more? Nazis had a strange and dangerous ideology but so have the people like Eiland. There is no big difference in the arrogance, methods and “dreams”.

Has Golan really a “rich” Jewish history?

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April 17th, 2007, 8:27 pm

 

7. Rev. Michel Nahas Filho said:

Why are you complaining about the author? Finally we hear the naked truth from an Israeli! It was, it is, and it will always be about land grabbing. I (again) refer to you the letter-testament of Moshe Dayan, where he mentions the Syrian front in 67 was openned BECAUSE they wanted that land!

It is very easy to return Desert (to Jordan and Egypt). To return land that is rich in water (at Least), where you can plant, and have some turism is a very different proposition!

Rev. Mike Nahas

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April 17th, 2007, 8:46 pm

 

8. George Ajjan said:

I hope one day there will be peace between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic, perhaps after the likes of this author begin to regard their neighbors as human beings and not mindless sectarian robots identified merely as “the Sunni majority” and “their great enemy…the inferior Alawis”. yawn.

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April 17th, 2007, 10:08 pm

 

9. G said:

Yeah right, it’s the Israelis who created these categories, and the way Sunnis have historically regarded Alawis, or what the Alawite regime has done to Sunnis since assuming power.

What you just did, slick, is actually validate your own sleight of hand, by suggesting that Syrians are robots who don’t have their own categories (no matter how negative) and historical hatreds.

But then of course, as the good Baathist government and ideology in Syria tells us (which you follow faithfully like a good Syrian), there is no “diversity” in Syria! Syria is Arab, period. There are no Kurds, no Sunnis, and no minority Alawite family ruling them all with the boot, prisons, torture, intimidation and dizzyingly multilayered secret police apparatuses.

How about asking for the Syrian regime to consider its own subjects as human beings first, eh slick?

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April 17th, 2007, 10:25 pm

 

10. Alex said:

Before Akbar shows up, : )

I also liked the honesty of this author. My friend George Ajjan and I were discussing the reasons Olmerts is not interested in the peace process with Syria. George believed it was mostly because the Israeli people need more reassurances that Syria in not going to be hostile after it gets its Golan. I believed it was more the subconscious Greed. Most people do not want to admit to themselves that they are greedy. The Golan is nothing in terms of its historic value to Jews. It does not have any more strategic significance considering Israel’s vastly superior air force. Keeping it is mostly a matter of greed .. why should Israel return it if it does not have to?

I read it countless times on teh comment section of Haaretz … from those who were honest enough to say it as it is.

But NOT all Israelis are opposed to returning the Golan, 40% approve I think. And not all who do not want to return it are Greedy, some really have security concerns and the Syrians can do better to communicate PUBLICLY their willingness to accommodate many of Israel’s requested security guarantees.

Until the Israeli people are convinced of the value of Syria, they will not support the return of the Golan.

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April 17th, 2007, 10:26 pm

 

11. Alex said:

Rev. Michel,

Can you help me find that Dayan quote online?

I need it for something I’m working on. If not online where can one find it?

Thanks.

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April 17th, 2007, 10:30 pm

 

12. Rev. Michel Nahas Filho said:

Hey Alex, here its:

http://www.searchforjustice.org/faqs/golan.html

Google Golan provocations, and some other links will come!

Mike

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April 17th, 2007, 10:47 pm

 

13. Rev. Michel Nahas Filho said:

Moshe Dayan’s own words, according to : http://reddit.com/info/1chv7/comments/c1cl0o

“I know how at least 80 percent of the clashes there [Golan] started. In my opinion, more than 80 percent, but let’s talk about 80 percent. It went this way: We would send a tractor to plough someplace where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was.”

I cannot confirm, I haven’t seen the original source myself.

Rev. mike nahas

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April 17th, 2007, 10:54 pm

 

14. Rev. Michel Nahas Filho said:

Sorry to come again, but I found an even more complete version on:
http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=18442

Mike, again!

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April 17th, 2007, 11:01 pm

 

15. Alex said:

Thank you so much!

That’s the one I was looking for.

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April 17th, 2007, 11:42 pm

 

16. norman said:

It is clear that Israel will not return the Golan as long as it does not cost them anyting to keep it , They left Lebanon because of the presure of Hizballa and they will leave the Golan only if it becomes costly to keep it , I call on all Syrian officials and peace loving people on this blog to stop dreaming and prepare for a long war lasting Months if not years as the only languege Israel understands is FORCE , we should remeber that Israel can not occupy Syria and stay but Syria should be willing to refuse any end to the war without the withdrowel of Israel from the Golan Hights to June 4th line .

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April 18th, 2007, 12:43 am

 

17. Alex said:

Here is Part II of Jihad elKhazen’s interview with PResident Assad

Today’s main topic: Lebanon

Interview

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April 18th, 2007, 3:27 am

 

18. Fares said:

Norman sounds like Bush here::::::::
“peace loving people on this blog to stop dreaming and prepare for a long war lasting Months if not years “”””

How can peace loving people prepare for wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!
sounds like a neocon to me, Norman why don’t you enroll in Bush team or become Najjad personal advisor since you need some exitement and all the violence happening already is not satisfying you.

Alex I love the first sentence of the article when Mr. Assad pretends that he knows what democracy means!!!!!
الرئيس بشار الأسد يقول إن الحل في لبنان ليس صعباً أو معقداً، فاللبنانيون يتباهون بالممارسة الديموقراطية، وفي أي بلد ديموقراطي عندما تحصل أزمة سياسية هناك حلان لا ثالث لهما، إما تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية أو اجراء انتخابات نيابية مبكرة
How would he like it if Turkey told his government what to do???

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April 18th, 2007, 3:56 am

 

19. Alex said:

Fares,

Mr. Assad is saying “since the Lebanese are proud to claim they have a democracy…”

This means one of two things

1) if they really are a democracy, then do what any other democracy would do when the country is not functioning anymore because half the people refuse to recognize the government… resign and ask for new elections.

2) If they are not, then stop lecturing us about us being the bad guys compared to their “good” democracy.

He is not claiming that Syria is a Democracy.

Got it?

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April 18th, 2007, 7:46 am

 

20. ugarit said:

Syria enjoys first consumer boom in decades

http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/world.aspx?ID=BD4A440664

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April 18th, 2007, 10:48 am

 

21. Rev. Michel Nahas Filho said:

Norman,

You are right! As much as I, as a Christian, praise peace, I am not into self mutilation. Charity you do it when you want to give or make a sacrifice for someone or some cause. When people takes what is yours, it is a crime instead! I just wished my Lebanese brothers, would deffend Israel going out of Lebanon, as much as they do it about Syria out of Lebanon.

Mike

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April 18th, 2007, 11:47 am

 

22. ebw said:

Josh,

This kind of copy is widely available, why bother republishing it? The Dayan thread on the Golan was useful in comments, so it wasn’t completely wasted time as there were the comments.

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April 18th, 2007, 2:21 pm

 

23. Ford Prefect said:

Wow, a new site and a new look. Great job! Norman and Alex do make an excellent point: Israel will never give back anything unless it has too and it is forced to. Their greed is overwhelming any desire for peace. AP argued in the past that Israel gave back the Sinai in return for peace while it did not have too. True, but taking out Egypt from the list of “enemies” was worth the empty desert. Israel is not yet convinced that it owes Syria anything.

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April 18th, 2007, 4:08 pm

 

24. Fares said:

Alex,

Thanks for your logic, I would have figured it out myself…except the guy think he still rules Lebanon…we are in 2007 and not 2003!

Mr Nahhas, the last time I checked Israel is out of Lebanon and that is why they don’t want to resist anymore….

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April 18th, 2007, 5:11 pm

 

25. Atassi said:

Halla bell Habib, Halla Bell Galli 🙂 Halla FP ..

With the current international and regional events and circumstances surrounding, effecting and taking a big toll on the Arab states, I would speculate that the Israeli public feels NO real threat to their core security state.
the regime in Damascus accepted the idea of not engaging in any small or large scale adventure directly from the Syrian front. Otherwise; it will result in new management taking over the helm to protect the balnce.

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April 18th, 2007, 5:25 pm

 

26. Alex said:

Halla FP : )

Atassi,

“Otherwise; it will result in new management taking over the helm to protect the balance.”

How exactly would such a scenario take place?

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April 18th, 2007, 5:55 pm

 

27. Judith Bello said:

It’s more than greed here. This is complete self absorption bordering on classical paranoia. Syria has no significance unless it can solve all their problems. No one has any value unless they can pay. Peace with Syria (or any other Arab nation) is irrelevant, and possibly a liability. A diplomatic relationship with any Arab neighbor is inconceivable because it would require setting aside the perception that any member of an external tribe is an enemy. It would require them to embrace the possibility that an equal friend has more value than beatable enemy.
And they call the Arabs barbarians. May I never have a neighbor like this.

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April 18th, 2007, 6:19 pm

 

28. Atassi said:

I would be very worried if the regime misread the confusing signals coming out of Israel, Washington and Tehran. Presuming the US and Israel has no desire or will not be able to deal with multiple conflicts at once is a myth. A conviction that Iran will be shoring up support to the regime if a conflict threatens its near collapses is another myth.
Miscalculating the outcome of a conflict can be catastrophic for the regime. The Assad’s had to learn this fact the hard way.

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April 18th, 2007, 6:51 pm

 

29. Akbar Palace said:

ausamaa said:

How about extending the Israeli “necessary” living space to include a veranda with a view of the Nile and a patio overlooking Tigris. A drawing room with a window towards the Arabian Sea perhaps? And wouldnt Israelies like their garden exended to include rich-in-Jewish-history Eroupe? That would be very nice too, would it not?

The usual anti-semitic, anti-Israel screed. No Israeli government EVER claimed land to the “Nile”, to the “Tigris” or to the Euphrates for that matter. And please don’t bring up the Israeli flag again(which resembles a “talith”, not 2 rivers)!

By God.. Criminal Greed, Stupidity and Chutzpah can be summed up in one six-lettered word: “ISRAEL”

I guess Israel’s existence could be considered “greed” or “chutzpah” too. But returning the Sinai and part of the Arava to Eygpt and Jordan, respectively, is neither greed OR chutzpah.

SimoHurtta quoted:

The Israeli people have a genuine need to live in an area with space, views, water, and agriculture and, yes, rich in Jewish history.

and then replied:

The Nazis called it Lebensraum. And non Jews have not the same need of space, views, water and agriculture?

Jew and non-Jew have the right to live however they see fit. To compare that to Nazi “Lebenstraum” is typical of an Arab anti-semite such as yourself. Israeli Arab have the right to live in beautiful home and on beautiful farms, and they do.

More anti-semitic comparisons:

Why doesn’t he say straight we do not give anything and we want more? Nazis had a strange and dangerous ideology but so have the people like Eiland. There is no big difference in the arrogance, methods and “dreams”.

Eiland didn’t say anything “strang”, annything racist, or anything intolerant. Funny how some anti-semites go crazy any time Professor Josh posts an article from an Israeli.

Has Golan really a “rich” Jewish history?

Not so much. There are the ruins of a few synagogues there including Gamla. I think it provides an important security buffer (if you remember 1973). But the Golan certainly doesn’t have the history Tiberias, Safed, and Nazereth has.

Rev. Michel Nahas Filho said:

Finally we hear the naked truth from an Israeli! It was, it is, and it will always be about land grabbing.

What “truth” are so upset about dear Reverend? That some Israeli doesn’t want to make peace with a leader who employs terrorism? Or an Israeli who wants to live in a beautiful, Jewish country? Sounds unbelievable to me too!;)

George Ajjan said:

I hope one day there will be peace between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic, perhaps after the likes of this author begin to regard their neighbors as human beings…

George,

What gave you the impression the author did not consider their neighbors to be “human beings”? BTW – When a terrorist brainwashes a 15 years old to blow himself/herself up, are they treating these people like “human beings”?

Alex said:

Before Akbar shows up, : )

I’m here Alex. Sorry. I feel the need to respond to the anti-semites you attract on your (and Professor Josh’s) wonderful blog.

I also liked the honesty of this author.

I do too. I also appreciate the honesty of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Arab media, Ahmadinejad, al-Queda, did I miss anyone?

I believed it was more the subconscious Greed. Most people do not want to admit to themselves that they are greedy. The Golan is nothing in terms of its historic value to Jews. It does not have any more strategic significance considering Israel’s vastly superior air force. Keeping it is mostly a matter of greed .. why should Israel return it if it does not have to?

You’re wrong. If Israel were both greedy and so militarily superior, she would not have returned the Sinai to Eygpt, land to Jordan, propose leaving some 95% of the WB and Gaza including 50% of the Old City and then leave Gaza without any peace treaty.

But, of course, you and your friends can believe what you want.

And not all who do not want to return it are Greedy, some really have security concerns …

Not “some” Alex. ALL Israelis have security concerns. Or are you disputing that? Give me a BREAK!

…and the Syrians can do better to communicate PUBLICLY their willingness to accommodate many of Israel’s requested security guarantees.

DUH!!!

norman said:

It is clear that Israel will not return the Golan as long as it does not cost them anyting to keep it , They left Lebanon because of the presure of Hizballa and they will leave the Golan only if it becomes costly to keep it , I call on all Syrian officials and peace loving people on this blog to stop dreaming and prepare for a long war lasting Months if not years as the only languege Israel understands is FORCE …

I agree. And when Hezbollah kicks Israel out of the Golan. You will see that Israel will refuse to leave the Galilee as well, so you’ll need to go further. And when you kick Israel out of the Galiliee, you will need to kick the Jews out of Jerusalem, so you’ll have to further. And because the Jews only understand force, you’ll have to kick them out of Acco, and Haifa, and Jaffa.

We can see where this is going. I think it would make a great movie on Iranian TV.

Ford Prefect said:

Norman and Alex do make an excellent point: Israel will never give back anything unless it has too and it is forced to. Their greed is overwhelming any desire for peace.

I see Ford Prefect agrees with the Israel-hating masses. Force is the only answer for the oppressed Arabs.

AP argued in the past that Israel gave back the Sinai in return for peace while it did not have too. True, but taking out Egypt from the list of “enemies” was worth the empty desert. Israel is not yet convinced that it owes Syria anything.

Israel owes Syria nothing and Syria owes Israel nothing.

Judith Bello said:

It’s more than greed here. This is complete self absorption bordering on classical paranoia.

1948, 1967, 1973, 1982, the Intifadas, terrorism and last summer’s war with Hezbollah were real. They were not “paranoia”.

And they call the Arabs barbarians.

Some Jews to call Arabs barbarians. And from reading the Arab media, I’ve seen how Jews are referred to as well.

May I never have a neighbor like this.

I’m glad I’m not your neighbor Ms. Bello.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back when everyone claims to have the “real truth” about Israel, peace, Jews, the Nile and the Tigris, and the other mysteries of the Jews…(LOL)

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April 19th, 2007, 2:05 am

 

30. Akbar Palace said:

Ms. Bello,

Would you prefer neighbors like this?

A major suicide attack on Tel Aviv was prevented this Passover, as Shin Bet and IDF forces arrested 19 Hamas members in the West Bank city of Qalqilya for planning to detonate a car bomb containing some 220 lbs of explosives, it was cleared for publication on Tuesday.

Investigations revealed that a would-be suicide bomber, a holder of an Israeli ID obtained through family unification, had already reached the center of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area with the vehicle, but for unknown reasons did not carry out the attack and returned to Qalqilya, where the bomb accidentally exploded.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3386098,00.html

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April 19th, 2007, 11:02 am

 

31. Creative Forum » Blog Archive said:

[…] I have been asked to write about the reasons why Israel should engage in negotiations with Syria, which would result in the return of the Golan Heights to Syria. In thinking about this subject what came to mind was an article written a few months ago by Giora Eiland for the journal Strategic Assessment that was republished on the Syria Comment website. This article was a shrewd and cynical analysis of the reasons that Israel should absolutely not engage in peace agreements that would return the Golan Heights. The article generated many thoughts in my mind about what I discerned as the flaws in Eiland’s thinking– or at least the assumptions embedded in the analysis that I believe are part of a general mentality about relations between Syria and Israel that I would use this opportunity to object to. […]

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May 21st, 2007, 6:34 pm

 

32. Creative Forum – Golan Heights home » Blog Archive said:

[…] an article written a few months ago by Giora Eiland for the journal Strategic Assessment that was republished on the Syria Comment website. This article was a shrewd and cynical analysis of all the reasons […]

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October 9th, 2010, 5:06 pm

 

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