Assad: ‘Golan Heights “is our issue”‘

Assad: ‘Golan Heights “is our issue”‘
By Meris Lutz, Los Angeles Times
December 2, 2010, Reporting from Beirut

Syria’s Assad seems to suggest backing for Hamas negotiable, leaked cables say
But even as President Bashar Assad appeared willing to reduce ties with the Palestinian militant group ruling the Gaza Strip, he brushed off pressure to alter the dynamics of his friendship with Iran.

Syrian President Bashar Assad described Hamas as an “uninvited guest” in his country in confidential conversations with American lawmakers, and appeared to suggest he would be willing to give up the alliance in exchange for incentives, according to several documents contained in the trove of leaked diplomatic cables posted online by the website WikiLeaks.

But even as Assad appeared willing to downgrade ties with the Palestinian militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, he brushed off pressure to change the dynamics of his friendship with Iran. He argued against his government putting pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program in exchange for a peace deal between Syria and Israel.

“Too many cooks spoil the meal,” he is quoted saying in a January 2010 cable.

The leaked cables shed new light on international efforts to forge a Syrian-Israeli peace accord and on private meetings involving the leader of Syria’s secretive government.

Assad shows himself in the leaked correspondence to be a shrewd negotiator. He told the American delegation visiting Damascus that he could help secure the Iraqi border against the flow of foreign fighters into Syria’s neighbor. But he said he wouldn’t do it “for free,” asking the U.S. to lift sanctions that banned the sale of commercial airplanes and their parts to Syria.

“In the U.S., you like to shoot [terrorists],” he said. “Suffocating their networks is far more effective.”

Diplomats and analysts view Syrian cooperation as crucial to ensuring the security of Iraq, Lebanon and Israel as well as isolating Iran.

Although Syria has forged strategic alliances with ideologically driven, Iranian-backed movements such as Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Hamas, Damascus continues to view the rise of political Islam as one of its primary internal threats. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has resided in Damascus since 2001, but such a blunt assessment of the group by Assad hasn’t been made public before.

“Hamas is Muslim Brotherhood, but we have to deal with the reality of their presence,” Assad told another group of American lawmakers in March 2009, according to an additional leaked cable, calling the Islamic movement an “uninvited guest” and likening it to the same Muslim Brotherhood his father, Hafez Assad, brutally uprooted from Syria in the 1980s.

In none of the dispatches does the younger Assad explicitly say that he would cut ties with Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran in exchange for the return of the Golan Heights, which was seized by Israel during the 1967 Middle East War. But he emphasized in the more recent meeting with U.S. lawmakers that the Golan Heights “is our issue,” according to the January 2010 confidential dispatch.

The documents also reveal an unsuccessful push by U.S. and regional leaders to persuade Israel to return the mountainous occupied region.

According to the documents, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reportedly told the ruler of Qatar in February 2010 that Israel should “work the return of the Golan Heights into a formula for peace” with Israel.

Other regional leaders recognized Syria’s willingness to negotiate. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf urged the U.S. to seek Syrian cooperation on Iraq and Lebanon. “If you want [Assad] to play ball, he needs comfort on other fronts — namely, the Golan Heights,” Musharraf told a high-ranking congressional delegation in April 2007, according to the WikiLeaks disclosures.

Israel has in recent years refused to negotiate a full withdrawal from the Golan. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. lawmakers that giving up the heights would only result in assurances that Syria would later “tear up,” according to a February 2009 cable.


“With respect to Syria, Russian experts believe that Bashar’s regime is better than the perceived alternative of instability or an Islamist government, and argue against a U.S. policy of isolation. Russia has concluded that its arms sales are too insignificant to threaten Israel, or to disturb growing Israeli-Russian diplomatic engagement, but sufficient to maintain “special” relations with Damascus”

Guardian (GB): US embassy cables: Russia’s growing clout in the global arms trade
2010-12-01 21:33:28.650 GMT

A Syrian perspective

From Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha’s talk at the Contemporary Arab Studies at the University of Georgetown, on Monday November 29, 2010.

Two important developments took place in November that will leave an indelible impact on the peace process (or lack thereof) in the Middle East.

First, the US offered Israel an unprecedented bribe for simply agreeing not to undermine the prospects of resuming talks with the Palestinians for a mere 90 days. In return for extending the moratorium on building settlements in the West Bank–that excludes Jerusalem–the US administration has committed itself to providing Israel with both the wherewithal to further consolidate its occupation of Arab territories, and a guarantee to oppose any attempt to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state. In the long annals of US acquiescence to Israeli blackmail, this is a remarkably unique instance of amply rewarding the culprit for agreeing to partially abstain from breaking international law for a brief period of time.

Second, the Israeli Knesset passed a resolution that will prevent any Israeli government from evacuating the occupied East Jerusalem and Syrian Golan without a general referendum. Given the stark shift to the right in the Israeli body politic, one immediately realizes that the real purpose of this resolution is to render the possibility of freeing East Jerusalem or the Golan a practical impossibility.

The implications of both actions are grave and nefarious. They only reaffirm that the Israeli government lacks both the will and the capacity to make peace with any of its neighbors…..

Friday, 26 October 2007

In an August 18, 2008 meeting with US Ambassador (Beirut) Michelle Sison, STL prosecuter Daniel Bellemare voiced his ‘concern’ for the lack of ‘assistance’ he was getting from the americans, something he relayed to the State Department … and he reiterated 3 specific queries:
(1) He wanted a clear ‘yes or no’ whether certain (US) Intelligence was to be submitted for his review …
(2) He asked to get US ‘investigators on loan’…
(3) He asked the US to ‘pressure the British to be more forthright…”
Moreover, Bellemare asked the Americans to financially support the STL …
He asked to have access to former Hezbollah members who ‘reside in the US’ …
He finally told Sison that he ‘will not travel to Syria, unless the Americans (or others) gave him a list of ‘Syrian officials’ to investigate … And then, if the Syrians become uncooperative, it would be easier for him to publically mention their ‘lack of cooperation’… Bellmare added that this should prode ‘other Syrians’ to come forth … Bellemare pointed to the importance of getting to the Syrians before year’s end (date at which ‘Chapter 7’ expires) …and the possibilty that some of these sought after individuals either ‘disappear or get eliminated’…]

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001162



¶2. (SBU) Since August 11, when a French Presidency press release first singled out Syria for appreciation, French government officials, journalists, and academics have pondered the “important” and “influential” role Syria played as “mediator” between France and Iran in the conflict surrounding the July 1 arrest by Iranian security officers of French citizen Clotilde Reiss…

MFA Syria Desk
Officer Patrick Durel on August 18 confirmed that President Sarkozy called Syrian President Assad August 5 to ask for his assistance …. Assad did not, however, name his interlocutor or interlocutors. “I’m doing what I can to help” was the message he sent to Paris, Durel explained.


¶4. (S/NF) Richier and Durel suggested that the GOF has sought to exaggerate the Syrian role deliberately, in order to demonstrate to Syria the praise they might win for playing a constructive role in the region, and in order to create tension between Syria and Iran. And the French believe they have succeeded on both fronts. As a sign that Syrians welcomed the praise they received for playing a helpful part in Reiss’s release, Durel cited the absence of a public denial by Assad. In the past, Assad disavowed such activity.

Durel explained, for instance, that Assad had agreed in private during July of 2008 to pass a message from Paris to Tehran about the dangers of the Iranian nuclear program, but he publicly denied having done so, declaring he did not want to play the role of intermediary. Moreover, according to Richier, the French believe their reference to Syrian intervention has sewn some discomfort among the Iranians, whom the French hear from various sources want them to “stop this stupid Syria business.” In advance of Assad’s August 19 visit to Tehran, the French continued to tout Syria’s role and encouraged him to raise the issue of Clotilde Reiss’s still-pending court case.

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 000174
E.O 12958: DECL: 02/08/20

¶1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: At the request of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (SecDef) met with French FM Bernard Kouchner in Paris on February 8, 2010. Discussions included how to persuade the Chinese and others to support sanctions against
Iran, and the importance of targeting the Iranian government rather than the people….

¶2. (S/NF) Kouchner said that the U.S. and France were working well together in New York on an Iran sanctions resolution – all the problems now are with the Chinese. Kouchner had met Chinese FM Yang twice the previous week, but said that right now it was difficult to predict whether the Chinese would veto or abstain. He noted that the Chinese were furious over the U.S.-Taiwan arms deal, which would make it difficult to get a resolution passed in February….

¶4. (S/NF) SecDef urged Kouchner not to exaggerate the Chinese concern over Taiwan – they would need a little more time and, in the end, an abstention might be a good enough result for us. He added that we should urge the Saudis to weigh in with Beijing since China has more at
stake in its relations with Saudi Arabia than Iran. He commented that the Saudis always want to “fight the Iranians to the last American,” but that now it is time for them to get into the game.

¶5. (S/NF) Raising his concerns about bringing non-permanent UNSC members on board, SecDef reported that in Ankara he had impressed upon PM Erdogan the dangers of proliferation to other Middle East countries or an Israeli strike if the Iranian nuclear program couldn’t be
stopped. Kouchner expressed his doubts about Turkey’s desire for a constructive role in region, describing Erdogan’s comments to Ahmadinejad defending the Iranian nuclear program as dangerous…….

¶8. (S/NF) Further explaining the U.S. position, SecDef said that while our understanding of the Iranian leadership was opaque, we do know that they do not like to be isolated. The USG would soon be designatingseveral IRGC companies under the Iran Sanctions Act. His own view was
that it was important to get the UNSCR passed quickly, even if it were not as harsh as we might wish. Once a resolution is passed, he explained, it will offer a legal platform on which the EU and
individual states can impose harsher sanctions.

¶9. (S/NF) Kouchner agreed, but added that another problem was to get  he nine votes needed in the UNSC. He said that Lebanon was one of France’s prime targets in this respect, but he doubted that France would be able to bring the resolution to a vote during its presidency,
as February is a very short month. Gabon, which takes the chair in March, is a “good asset for France,” he commented. Audibert interjected that the Russians had supported deleting some sections of the draft UNSCR, but had approved including sanctions on the IRGC. Kouchner said that France had to proceed carefully since a French woman had been taken hostage in Tehran. He disparaged FM Mottaki’s duplicitous performance in Munich.

Media Pushes Narrative That Arabs Want War With Iran, Ignores Cables That Show Arabs Urging Restraint
2010-12-01 23:04:54.500 GMT

Media Pushes Narrative That Arabs Want War With Iran, Ignores Cables That Show Arabs Urging Restraint Over the weekend, the whistleblower website WikiLeaks began leaking hundreds of diplomatic cables sent by U.S. embassies and diplomatic staff …

S E C R E T PARIS 002743

¶1. (U) June 12, 2007, 8:30 P.M.

¶3. (S) Summary: U/S Burns and Political Director Gerard Araud
met June 12 for a lengthy discussion of key bilateral issues,…
¶15. (C) Burns also reviewed how Iran violated UNSC
resolutions by providing arms to Hizballah in Lebanon, which
appears to be taking new steps to threaten Israel, and to the
Taliban in Afghanistan. Loras responded that, given that the
evidence on Hizballah arms in Lebanon is not verifiable,
France is not currently pushing Iran on this issue. Araud
added that France is trying to keep open its dialogue with
Larijani on Lebanon…….
¶16. (C) Araud stated that Sarkozy had told President Bush
that France would maintain its policy on Lebanon, minus its
exclusive Harriri focus. Sarkozy had also solicited
President Bush’s advice about talking with Syria. Araud said
Sarkozy responded that now is not the time, as Syria remains
very destructive. Burns told Araud that the United States
had been surprised at not having been consulted prior to
France’s recent call for a conference on Lebanon in Paris.
Araud contritely agreed that consultations in advance were
warranted. Returning briefly to a discussion of the renewal
of UNIFIL, MOD advisor Mondoloni revealed that the French
military would like to downsize its presence, but that
civilian leaders had emphasized to them that political
obligations were paramount. …

Israel tells the French that Turkey has helped Iran get weapons-related material for nuclear program (the French seem skeptical).

4. (S/NF) The French participants in the Strategic Dialogue
noted profound disquiet among the Israelis about Turkey,
Bereyziat said. He reported that the Israelis claimed the
Turks have allowed weapons-related material for Iran’s
nuclear program to transit Turkey, with Prime Minister
Erdogan’s full knowledge. The French replied that Israel
would need to have clear and concrete proof of such activity
before leveling accusations. The Israelis replied that they
are collecting evidence which they will eventually publicize…

T_Desco writes in the comment section:

The picture of a reasonable, thoughtful Syrian president that emerges from this interview stands in marked contrast to the caricature that one finds all too often in our media.

The Saudi ‘documentary’ ‘Murder in Beirut’ by Charlie Smith, Christopher Mitchell/ORTV includes a number of shots of the first page of a purported UN tribunal/investigation document. The text is very similar to the Follath/Der Spiegel article.
Interestingly, the author still uses the Mehlis estimate regarding the amount of explosives (“1000 kg”). Since June 2006 the estimate was increased to “at least 1,200 kg” (Third UN report) and then to “closer to 1,800 kg than to 1,200 kg” (Forth UN report in September 2006). At the same time, the text contains information about the Mitsubishi Canter van that was only disclosed in July 2007:
“The van was then shipped to the United Arab Emirates and transported to a showroom close to Tripoli in northern Lebanon in December 2004, where it was sold. The Commission has recently acquired information regarding the sale of the van to individuals who could be involved in the final preparation of the van for the attack on Rafik Hariri.” (§24, Eighth UN report, July 2007).
However, if reports by Al-Akhbar are correct, that information had already been acquired in April 2006 by the Lebanese investigation (interestingly, the first to suggest that the van was bought in Tripoli was Faisal Akbar in January 2006 in his later retracted testimony).

This leads us to three possibilities:

The document is
1. not genuine;
2. just sloppy regarding the amount of explosives; 3. genuine and was written between April 2006 and June 2006.
According to CBC, Wissam Eid’s report was filed “in the first months of 2006”. However, the air of certainty that apparently pervades the text does not seem to correspond to a report that just relies on circumstantial evidence:

“Lebanon/Hizballah Behind Hariri’s Assassination

In the weeks prior to the Harir (sic) murder, a number of Hizballah operational cells closely followed the movements of the former Prime Minister, collected accurate information on his movements and waited for the best opportunity to assassinate him. According to accumulated information, this activity was carried out by a compartmented unit in Hizballah headed by Selim Ayyash (alias Haj Selim).

… (PHOTO “A” ATTACHED), who is a senior operative with a rich ‘operational’ past, is from the Nabatiya area in South Lebanon, was born on 10 November 1963 and is currently living in the Shiite area of south Beirut. He is the commander of the classified unit that deals in secret and compartmented activity in the Lebanese arena. He is married to Fatima al-Hajj and they have three children.

… was the commander of the assassination squad. He was apparently responsible for procuring a white Mitsubishi Canter in late January 2005, far from Beirut, and in a way that precluded him from being identified as the procurer of the vehicle. Hizballah demolition unit specialists, who have a great deal of experience in preparing car bombs, turned the vehicle into a car bomb and armed it with 1,000 kg of varied explosives (TNT, C4, RDX).

The unit headed by … was in 2005 directly subordinate to the military commander of Hizballah, Imad Mughniyah. The connection between …

Eyad (DOB: 20 April 1960) (PHOTO “B” ATTACHED) a former operative of Hizballah’s external operations apparatus and in 2005, “.

The names are mostly blanked out, but remain visible in some of the shots. A few lines of a second page are also discernible through the paper (unclear/guessed words are marked with a “?”):

“Eyad was?
minutely? involved in all aspects and stages? of the operation. Selim”

further down:

“was present? at the Parliament building. This enabled Ayyash then to precisely time the explosion”

further down:

“Samir Kassir?” “(2? June? 2005)” “George Hawi (21”

“2005)?. In each case there were cell phones – later identified as tied to”

further down:

“town? of Rumin?” “PHOTO”

“training? in Iran prior to the assassination”.

The similarities to Follath’s article are striking:

“He is believed to be Abd al-Majid Ghamlush, from the town of Rumin, a Hezbollah member who had completed training course in Iran. (…)

Ghamlush’s recklessness led investigators to the man they now suspect was the mastermind of the terrorist attack: Hajj Salim, 45. A southern Lebanese from Nabatiyah, Salim is considered to be the commander of the “military” wing of Hezbollah and lives in South Beirut, a Shiite stronghold. Salim’s secret “Special Operational Unit” reports directly to Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, 48.

Imad Mughniyah (…) ran the unit until Feb. 12, 2008 (…).

The deeper the investigators in Beirut penetrated into the case, the clearer the picture became, according to the SPIEGEL source. They have apparently discovered which Hezbollah member obtained the small Mitsubishi truck used in the attack. They have also been able to trace the origins of the explosives, more than 1,000 kilograms of TNT, C4 and hexogen.

(…) And, once again, there was evidence of involvement by the Hezbollah commando unit, just as there has been in each of more than a dozen attacks against prominent Lebanese in the last four years.”

(m. emph.)

Note that Follath uses the correct(ed?) estimate of “more than 1,000 kilograms” of explosives.

Egypt Sought Spies in Iraq, Syria to Stop Iran, WikiLeaks Shows
2010-11-30 23:12:11.192 GMT

By Heather Langan
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) — Egypt’s spy agency recruited agents
in Iraq and Syria to try to counter Iranian intelligence
operations, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable posted on the
WikiLeaks website.
“Iran must ‘pay the price’ for its actions and not be
allowed to interfere in regional affairs,” said Omar Suleiman,
head of the intelligence service and one of President Hosni
Mubarak’s closest aides, according to the April 2009 cable. It
gives details of a meeting between Suleiman and Admiral Michael
Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“If you want Egypt to cooperate with you on Iran, we
will,” Suleiman told Mullen, according to the cable. “It would
take a big burden off our shoulders.”
Egypt has “started a confrontation with Hezbollah and
Iran,” the cable cited Suleiman as saying. “We will not allow
Iran to operate in Egypt,” he said.
Egypt, a close U.S. ally, has accused Iran of using proxy
groups such as the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement to
increase its influence in the Middle East. Egypt and Iran
haven’t had full diplomatic relations since 1979, when Egyptian
President Anwar Sadat gave refuge to the deposed Iranian shah,
Reza Pahlavi.
Suleiman told Mullen that Egypt “sent a clear message to
Iran that if they interfere in Egypt, Egypt will interfere in
Iran,” according to the cable, sent to Washington from the U.S.
Embassy in Cairo.
Suleiman added that the Egyptian intelligence service had
begun “recruiting agents in Iraq and Syria,” according to the
cable. He also said the U.S. shouldn’t limit its focus on Iran
to one issue at a time, such as the Islamic republic’s nuclear

Comments (38)

why-discuss said:

France 24 : Aujourd’hui, Libération affirme, en se basant sur “des fuites de personnes proches de l’enquête”, que les huit portables ont été “repérés lors des quatre autres attentats” qui ont suivi l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri. Il s’agit notamment de ceux qui ont coûté la vie au journaliste franco-libanais Samir Kassir, le 2 juin 2005, et à l’ancien chef du Parti communiste local, Georges Hawi, le 21 juin de la même année. Enfin, le quotidien affirme que l’enquête mènerait désormais jusqu’à un certain Haj Salim, qui est l’adjoint du chef militaire du Hezbollah, Imad Moughnieh, tué en février 2008 à Damas dans l’explosion de sa voiture.

December 2nd, 2010, 9:34 am


Akbar Palace said:

Professor Josh’s little ignored tidbit of the day NewZ

Assad: ‘Golan Heights “is our issue”

And Israel’s response is, “Lose Iran and it won’t be a problem.”.

December 2nd, 2010, 12:47 pm


Alex said:


I’m afraid that Israel’s real response is: lose Iran (and Hezbollah and Hamas) and we will negotiate and negotiate and negotiate … and at some point we will think about it again and it will be clear … “Syria is so weak and it now has no allies .. why should we give the Golan back to Syria?”

December 2nd, 2010, 2:33 pm


Alex said:

Our friend Ayman Hakki, posted this in the middle east forum.

As a Syrian American who is enamored with America’s secular nature, I find our goverment’s support of Israel’s insistence on the “recognition of the Jewish nature of the state of Israel” troubling.

The United States of America is the world’s best example of the reward of secular humanism. Our American forefathers insisted that religion be separated from the state. The visionary men who crafted the constitution stressed an obligation to treat other equitably. Today many Americans are inclined to accept Israel’s caveat that it must be recognized as an exclusive Jewish state. Our acceptance of Israel’s insistence on linking its majority power to its religion perpetuates the disenfranchisement of the Arab minority. But Americans should not allow our ally to legitimize something that goes against our own secular humanism. This discrepancy is causing us to be alienated from the world. Other nations used to look upon the U.S. as a bastion of freedom. With our unqualified support of Israel, in spite of its abuse of Arab minority, America is becoming viewed as a nation that supports such abuse.

Israel demands that Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish State. This recognition means non-Jews inside Israel will be officially and perpetually designated as second class citizens. The recognition also prevents Palestinian refugees from returning to Israel. The U.S. State Department recently pledged to Israel certain military and political commitments in return for Israel’s acceptance of a temporary building freeze in Palestine. Salam Fayyad (Palestine’s pro-peace and moderate Prime Minister) describes our proposed enticements as being worse than the continuation of settlement activities.

As a reaction to our support of Israel, an alliance is solidifying between Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Hezbollah. The alliance is pitted against the West, namely the U.S. and Israel. Conversely, a counter alliance is being formed between Israel, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This regional realignment is happening as we speak and will inevitably lead to further political conflict. The people who will pay most dearly for this conflict are the minorities in the region.

Nevertheless, Israel is not the only guilty party. Extreme critics of Israel allege Jewish conspiracy theories that are truly bigoted and inaccurate. Israel is not to blame for all the ills of the Middle East nor the world at large. Israel’s enemies should not be exonerated from their own role in the current turmoil because the Holocaust was the ultimate genocide of a minority.

One must concede that intolerance of minorities is prevalent in other underdeveloped societies with poor education. It is also relevant that Islam is also regressing from liberal ideals. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the Wahhabi brand of Islam fosters Islamic misinterpretation and dogmatic isolationism. Freedom of religion is nonexistent in the desert nation. One could never build a church or a synagogue in Saudi Arabia. In light of the human rights abuses of such an Islamic state, a more progressive Islam that emphasizes human rights must be developed.

Finally, no reform will take place in these political spheres given the stalemate caused by the Israeli occupation. The bottom line is that Israel must stop stealing Palestinian land. The U.S. must realize that supporting Israel’s activities in the Occupied Territories is absolutely counter to the interests of both minorities and majorities in Israel. Israeli support is also directly linked to the phenomenon of anti- American and anti-Western Islamic terrorism. Americans often ask the perennial question: Why do they hate us? It is easy to claim that Jihadists hate America because of its freedom and wealth. It is more difficult to face the fact that they hate America because it supports Israel.

December 2nd, 2010, 2:35 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


The comment you posted #4 is the purest distillate of ‘why there will never be peace here’.

1) Jewish is national, not religious. The Arab minority in Israel will feel as comfortable as any other minority in the West. Unlike the comfort that minorities feel across Arabia.
2) “The recognition also prevents Palestinian refugees from returning to Israel”. Exactly. I couldn’t have phrased it more accurately.
3) “The bottom line is that Israel must stop stealing Palestinian land”. But if the “refugees” return, then there’s no Israel. Right?
4) “Finally, no reform will take place in these political spheres given the stalemate caused by the Israeli occupation”. This is the most fallacious of all of his arguments. I will not even try to start to refute that.

Good luck with this, and embrace yourself for the next 62 years of struggle.

December 2nd, 2010, 3:25 pm


Akbar Palace said:

More Ignored Tidbits NewZ

I’m afraid that Israel’s real response is: lose Iran (and Hezbollah and Hamas) and we will negotiate and negotiate and negotiate … and at some point we will think about it again and it will be clear … “Syria is so weak and it now has no allies .. why should we give the Golan back to Syria?”


I recall seeing the same quote, but I forgot who stated it. The point is the int’l community and the US could make Syria “strong” politically if she indicated she would remove herself from the jihadist camp. But that hasn’t happened. Syria will not “take the jump” for the Golan. It’s “too expensive”. But if you can should Syrian gov’t responses that counter the articles below, Alex, I’d sure like to see them…,0,2149029.story

Meanwhile here is was the GOI has to say from the official MFA website:

December 2nd, 2010, 3:30 pm


Shai said:

Latest addition to the Axis-of-Evil, Turkey, sends two firefighting planes to assist Israel.,7340,L-3993450,00.html

December 2nd, 2010, 3:57 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Love means never having to say your sorry NewZ


It warms the heart to know Israel has a muslim ally even when they don’t always see eye-to-eye;)'re_sorry

December 2nd, 2010, 4:19 pm


Alex said:


To you “Jewish is not religious”, but to many, many Israelis Jewish is .. religious. And either way, the Middle East needs to shed all those restrictions. I do understand, however the need for a long transition period (25 years) during which Israel needs to ensure it is governed by Jews.

The return of Palestinian refugees is negotiable according to the Arab peace plan. A small number (symbolic?) should be allowed back into pre-67 Israel. Most others will take compensations and stay in Arab countries. Jews who wish to return to their homes in Damascus will be beyond welcome to come back. But again, not many will choose to do so.


The problem is that it is impossible to trust Israel anymore. The old Israel that signed peace with Egypt and Jordan is gone … today;s Israel is led by “smart” politicians. Also, Syria will not abandon the Palestinians. It can not, and it will not. Israel will need to settle that conflict.

December 2nd, 2010, 4:23 pm


Shai said:


Actually, right now residents around the Carmel are feeling more than “warmth of the heart”, as their houses are going up in flames. Our buddy Lieberman asked for help from Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and a few others, except for… Turkey. And lo and behold, Turkey, latest addition to the Jihadist-Camp, volunteers two of her planes to help fight the terrible fires that are consuming thousands of acres as we speak.

Strange… Turkey is Iran’s ally, isn’t it? 😉

December 2nd, 2010, 4:32 pm


Akbar Palace said:

The #1 Syrian Apologist Website

The old Israel that signed peace with Egypt and Jordan is gone … today;s Israel is led by “smart” politicians. Also, Syria will not abandon the Palestinians. It can not, and it will not.


Yes, it’s always something, isn’t it? Of course, it couldn’t be Syria’s unwillingness to shed Iran’s theocracy.

No, now it’s Israel’s “smart politicians” and the Abandonment of the Palestinians™ (which Syria has always worked against).,7340,L-3869325,00.html

December 2nd, 2010, 4:47 pm


Shai said:

Another Muslim nation, Egypt, that recognizes Hamas, and is responsible for the deaths of more Israelis than any other Arab nation, is ALSO sending firefighting planes to Israel…

This is getting awfully confusing…

December 2nd, 2010, 5:15 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Come on Alex… 25 years? then what? Israel will be governed by an Arab?

“…the Middle East needs to shed all those restrictions”. Fine with me. Arabs first. Until then, I feel safer lining in Israel (governed by a Jew).

December 2nd, 2010, 5:38 pm


Shai said:


Didn’t you feel, for just a second, tremendously jealous of the power of Democracy in the United States, as you watched the first black President get sworn in?

The following day, at least one Israeli newspaper (guess which) had an article titled “When will Israel have its first Arab Prime Minister?”

I agree with you. That would be the end of The Jewish People. An Arab leader would immediately enact laws making Jews 2nd class citizens, and Arabs 1st class. I wonder where he’d get such a crazy idea from… 😉

December 2nd, 2010, 5:50 pm


Shai said:

Here’s a crazy idea. Following Turkey’s generous assistance to Israel in sending planes to help fight the huge fire, President Shimon Peres travels to Ankara to personally thank his Turkish counterpart, and uses the opportunity to apologize… Turkish-Israeli relations are mended almost instantaneously. A month later, Netanyahu sits at Erdogan’s house, and speaks indirectly with President Assad. And, a month after that, he is invited by Assad to Damascus.

Crazy, isn’t it?

December 2nd, 2010, 6:10 pm


Norman said:


I think that Syria should offer help ,

Amir you think that a Jewish nation is national not religious , that is good then why you deny the Christians and Muslims who have been in Israel for the last 3000 years and only fault is that they changed their religion instead of leaving when the Roman destroyed the Temple equal rights at least in housing and employment and education ,

Don’t you think the Israeli non Jews should be treated as good as Jews are treated in western countries , aren’t you afraid that someday a western leader in bad economic times will call for treating the Jews of the West the way the Christians and Muslims are treated in Israel ,

What you do to others might be a reason to be done to you ,

Think about that for a while ,

December 2nd, 2010, 6:42 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Another Stupid Question from Syria Comment’s token Israeli

“When will Israel have its first Arab Prime Minister?”


The first black US Cabinet Secretary was appointed in 1966. Almost 200 years after the birth of the US.

So to answer your question, I would say Israel is doing much better than most countries in this regard, especially taking into account the increasing power of muslim militants inside and outside of Israel.

I would say Israel will get an Arab president a lot sooner than a Jew in a Muslim country, and certainly before a Jew becomes president in judenrein Palestine.

December 2nd, 2010, 10:54 pm


Alex said:

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Come on Alex… 25 years? then what? Israel will be governed by an Arab?


Arabs TOO, but not “Arabs FIRST” as you suggested … both you and Saudi Arabia have to do serious changes … Egypt is also a society that is not healthy because for most Egyptians, interpretation of religion is tribal instead of spiritual. Syria will need to take steps towards democracy at the same time you in Israel take steps towards equality of Jews and non Jews …

The whole Middle East needs that transition period to move forward. I am sure Syria would love to sit down with whoever to talk about the new Middle East … we understand it takes time but time alone will not change anything, we need a plan … a realistic one and one that takes everyone’s fears into account.

Akbar Palace said:

The first black US Cabinet Secretary was appointed in 1966. Almost 200 years after the birth of the US.


We are not in the 18th century anymore … at that time it used to take months to deliver a letter … now it takes a fraction of a second to deliver an email. It is not very impressive to beat those 200 years.

But again, no rush to get an Arab President for Israel. Just give the Palestinians their legitimate state. When the Egyptians or Syrians are ready to elect their first Christian President (they have +- 10% Christians) we’ll ask Israel to be equally civilized.

December 2nd, 2010, 11:23 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Don’t misunderstand me.
What I wanted to say is that Jews have to be governed by Jews, and Arabs by Arabs. I did not try to judge Arab governance. This I leave to you.

The Multi-Kulti kind of a society you’re suggesting is doomed to failure. Even the Europeans are just beginning to realize this truth. Each community needs self governance. That is why Jews need a Jewish state. Any other proposal (25 years) is futile.

“…we need a plan … a realistic one and one that takes everyone’s fears into account”. I wasn’t fearing, till I heard of your “25 years” plan.

December 3rd, 2010, 1:19 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Shai #14,

You know what? Let’s settle on a Scandinavian Prime Minister, or New Zeelandi, or may be Costa Rican. But Arab? Let’s wait with this two or three generations. Or four or five.

December 3rd, 2010, 1:29 am


Shai said:


This is part of the problem. You, like most Israelis, innately fear, suspect, and distrust Arabs, period. Any Arab. This is why few Israelis cities have Arabs in them. This is why we are, whether we like it or not, a Racist state. In the same way that a Germany once feared, suspected, and distrusted Jews. Is this what you want to pass on to your children?


Blacks were also slaves in the history of the United States. Are you suggesting we need to go through this period as well? The U.S. also went through a Civil War over the status of blacks. Are you expecting this too in Israel?

By the way, proportionally, there are far fewer blacks in America (12%) than there are Arabs in Israel (20%).

I love hearing good Jews like yourself give every excuse they can for leaving the corrections of history to others in the distant future. Imagine a great-great-grandfather, living somewhere in the deep South, writing in his diary sometime in the early 1800’s: “Well, who knows… these negroes may one day achieve greatness… but we’ll leave that for future generations… not in our time…” How would you feel about this person? How would his son feel, reading this diary?

December 3rd, 2010, 3:32 am


Akbar Palace said:

More “Shai Myths” Debunked

Shai whines:

Here’s a crazy idea. Following Turkey’s generous assistance to Israel in sending planes to help fight the huge fire, President Shimon Peres travels to Ankara to personally thank his Turkish counterpart…

Not so crazy afterall: Netanyahu personally calls to “thank his Turkish counterpart”.,7340,L-3993677,00.html

December 3rd, 2010, 8:25 am


norman said:

Shai, Amir , Yossi ,

Arab Prime minster does not have to be Christian or Muslim , he can be Yossi , i wonder how long that will take ?

December 3rd, 2010, 9:31 am


why-discuss said:

Brazil recognizes Palestinian state

I hope it will snowball, all South America, Turkey, all arab countries and Asian countries.

It was time!

December 3rd, 2010, 1:26 pm


Shai said:


You’re absolutely right. “Arab” should not mean only Muslim or Christian.


I didn’t expect you to understand the point… 😉

December 3rd, 2010, 2:34 pm


Ghat Al Bird said:


I hope it will snowball.

Why not. In my opinion it should have happened a long time ago. The UN General Assembly should have voted for recognition a long time ago. The Palestenians have by their inaction allowed Israelis to determine whether when, where and how. And 60 odd years later its the same old story.

More and more settlements. In my opinion no Israeli leader will undertake to make the right principled decisions required. If he even attempted he will end up like Rabin.

December 3rd, 2010, 4:07 pm


Shai said:

Erdogan responds to Akbar:,7340,L-3993952,00.html

A Netanyahu phone call that says “thanks” is not what Turkey needs… That’s why I didn’t expect you to understand the point (the whining).

December 4th, 2010, 12:44 am


Akbar Palace said:

More of Shai’s “Crazy Idea” NewZ

“President Mahmud Abbas on Saturday received a telephone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing his gratitude for the help of Palestinian firefighters in putting out the fires raging since the day before yesterday in the Carmel mountains,” it said, according to AFP.

December 5th, 2010, 12:07 pm


Shai said:

Well, I’m sure that solves it then. Netanyahu thanks all those who assisted Israel and, now, expects them to “shape up”. Not to worry, Abbas’s Erdogan-version is coming soon – he’s already threatened a few days ago to dismantle the PA, and force Israel to take full control of the West Bank.

Instead of Shuttle Diplomacy, Ping-Pong Diplomacy, or Earthquake Diplomacy, Akbar is impressed by Netanyahu’s “Thanks!”-Diplomacy.

Btw, Akbar, why would Netanyahu speak to Erdogan? Isn’t Turkey also Iran’s ally?

December 5th, 2010, 1:41 pm


SimoHurtta said:

“President Mahmud Abbas on Saturday received a telephone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing his gratitude for the help of Palestinian firefighters in putting out the fires raging since the day before yesterday in the Carmel mountains,” it said, according to AFP.

Heh, heh (I do not laugh to the tragedy, I laugh how Israelis (the Jewish side) manage to turn as their “achievement”, even a forest fire put out mainly by foreigners)
PM: In other countries fires last longer

We have been asked, ‘How can you put out a big fire in less than three days, while it takes other countries three weeks?’ My response was, ‘We have no other country, and it’s a very small country.’

It is asthonishing how the same guys who are responsible of being totally unprepared to the evident (in the Mediterranean climate forest fires during the dry season are a “rule” especially in big pine forests), have to beg help from the neighbours and then find the guilty in hours, from the minority of course. Israel has an amazing security system. In hours they “find out” that two Druze (naturally) boys went to the forest to smoke water pipe and put a bonfire to “signal” their parents and villager we are secretly smoking – a rather absurd theory. In the West bank the same security apparatus never can find out who was behind burning the Palestinian mosques, houses, fields etc. Simply asthonishing chaps these Israelis = blame for everything others, take credit for everything and try always to make others to pay the costs. Like in this forest fire.

December 5th, 2010, 5:35 pm


Shai said:


Those “Israeli chaps” aren’t blaming the (Israeli) Druze kids, they’re blaming the government for putting firefighting on the bottom of the priority list, despite multiple warnings even lately in recent weeks and months. The ones that will be “crucified” will not be those kids, but a few politicians who will be found responsible.

As for Netanyahu’s pride, I too sometimes tire of it. Israeli Media, by the way, started criticizing him for engaging more in photo-ops and spins, for political gains, than in fixing the problem.

Few in Israel feel “proud” these past few days.

December 6th, 2010, 12:52 am


SimoHurtta said:

Those “Israeli chaps” aren’t blaming the (Israeli) Druze kids, they’re blaming the government for putting firefighting on the bottom of the priority list, despite multiple warnings even lately in recent weeks and months. The ones that will be “crucified” will not be those kids, but a few politicians who will be found responsible.

Well Shai the witch-hunt in Israel started at once and after the burned bus and tens of victims the only hypothesis “left” was that the fire was started by an Arab. You might even have read of the tens of “extra” fires started by the “fifth column” (=minority Israeli citizen). Shai the reality is that present days Israel needs its Reichtags fire and own Marinus van der Lubbe. A notion that the fire was started (by accident or deliberately (= property developers)) by a Jew is simple “impossible” for your society after so many dead.

Don’t you Shai find it rather strange that the tens of recent arsons against Palestinian properties and worship places are unsolved, but in this case police finds at once the guilty under-aged “water pipe burners”. Do you really believe that the youngsters get a change in the court or the Israeli police will humiliate themselves and admit “we got the wrong suspects”? The crime is “solved” and the mob has its pleasant/suitable scapegoat. The reason Israel is not calling more out the “solution” is that the water pipe story is so naive that even Israeli Jews have difficulties in swallowing that.

Just came a new news. Well there is still some justice left in Israel and I have have retreat from my comment above – Do you really believe that the youngsters get a change in the court? The judges did not trust the prosecutor’s and police’s claims. Brothers accused of igniting fire released. Lets see how the saga develops. The Israeli Jewish mob and politicians need (desperately) their scapegoat. And the police can’t retreat much. They have to find new Druzes to blame.

Have you Shai read the study Auditing Israeli Democracy Democratic values in practice? Your Jewish nation is ready for an authoritarian strong government and mentally prepared for a major ethnic cleansing. Difficult to believe that with these kind of attitudes among the Jewish majority a peaceful solution would be possible. Not without a lost war will the attitudes change. Sad.

December 6th, 2010, 6:58 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

Wikileaks cables pertaining to ME nations in Arabic.

December 6th, 2010, 11:17 am


Shai said:


I have not read the study, but I will. Thank you for sharing it.

Indeed the Court did release the two boys back home, and it is quite clear that, at best, they could be accused of negligence, not starting the fire. The Israeli public, and the media, are fully preoccupied with searching for the real blame, and that is to be found somewhere within government. No one is talking about “Arabs” starting fires. If anything, the Interior Minister today claimed he was being “lynched”, because he is Ultra-Orthodox, from the Right, and a Mizrachi. So if anything, we’re lynching Jews, not Arabs.

I don’t think you understand Israel well enough. While I certainly agree that Israeli society is actively Racist, today more than ever, I do believe that it can change almost instantaneously, within a decade or two. Jews in Israel are not innately racist, any more than Arabs in the Arab states are. The kinds of voices against Arabs in Israel are echoed throughout the Muslim World against Jews. You cannot pretend that the Arab World is not Racist. Not only against Jews, but against Indians, and Pakistanis, and even against their own brethren (lesser-being Muslims). The entire region is long overdue for a major “overhaul”. We need Peace as soon as possible (real peace, fake peace, any peace, to start with), we need to get economic cooperation and openness within the region, and of course we need Democracy to start being implemented wherever it can. This in itself is one of the toughest tasks, as you know.

We can go into it further, but I don’t have much time right now. But from my perspective of living in the U.S., Europe, and of course Israel, I do believe that we can rid ourselves of much of the terrible things we see today, if we enjoyed Peace in our region.

December 6th, 2010, 2:42 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Let’s Pretend Jewish Liberals can Defend Israel

Shai tells Sim:

You cannot pretend that the Arab World is not Racist.

To which I say, “Why Not?”.

Anti-semites have always downplayed Arab threats and racism against Israel and the West.

Just go to any anti-semitic website and see what is written about Hamas, Hezbollah, Ahmadinejad, al-Queda, arab terrorism, or 9-11.


December 6th, 2010, 10:55 pm


Shai said:


You again miss the point. It doesn’t advance us very far to blame each other for being Racist. The point is to see how to move forward, how to highlight what we have in common and what common goals we share, and not to engage in endless (even if justified) blaming matches.

If you know of a better way to move towards Peace, please share it with us. “The Truth” does not reside only with Israelis, Jews, or pro-Israeli non-Jews. It is often worthless trying to discover what “the truth” is. Although for anyone against a compromise, it is certainly a useful tool.

December 7th, 2010, 3:54 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

While the SHAI/AP opine this is whats happenning.

Michael Collins.

To much acclaim, a handful of former politicians from Western Europe—backed by the media clout of a consortium of super-rich pro-Israel families—recently gathered in Paris to proclaim on May 31 that, “There is no West without Israel.” This is a rather amazing point of view, considering that the recorded history of Western civilization extends back for thousands of years.

Declaring the West cannot survive unless the Western “democracies” stand firm with Israel—that “Israel’s fight is our fight,” that “the assault on Israel is itself an assault on Judeo-Christian values,” and that “Israel’s future is our fate,” the Friends of Israel

Initiative, or FII, was set in motion. They are concerned that people worldwide are growing disgusted with Israel and they are fomenting fears of a nuclear Iran.

While proclaiming it “differs from previous such ventures primarily in that it is being led by people who are not Jewish,” the record shows the fine hand of the global Zionist network is singularly behind the campaign. Although this forum is declaring its impartiality, it is no more than a front for Zionist billionaire Rupert Murdoch and a stable of his employees and henchmen.

The group’s chairman, Jose Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain, is a member of the News Corporation’s board of directors, which is the global media giant controlled by Murdoch. Murdoch’s operation has been bankrolled by a global consortium funded by the Rothschild family of Europe, the Oppenheimers of South Africa and the Bronfmans of Canada, together known as “The Billionaire Gang of Four.” So Aznar owes his patronage to forces beyond his native Spain.

What’s more, on its web site, the FII belies its purported independence by acknowledging that it “formed from a group of high-level personalities supported by a large network of influential opinionmakers,” citing among them such closely interconnected figures as:

• William Kristol, editor of Murdoch’s “neo-conservative” Weekly Standard. Kristol has also attended Bilderberg meetings, founded under the sponsorship of the Rothschild family.

• Elliot Abrams, member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)—New York offshoot of the Rothschild-controlled Royal Institute of International Affairs in London—and son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz, protégé of the late Irving Kristol, father of the above-noted William Kristol and longtime editor of the American Jewish Committee’s Commentary (now edited by Abrams’s brother-in-law John Podhoretz).

• Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a foreign policy voice for the hard-line “right-wing” elements in Israel. A former advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gold has been a leading advocate for the global “Community of Democracies” founded to counteract nationalist sentiments among blocs within the United Nations (led by, for example, Venezuela and Iran), who reject Zionist influence and domination by the New World Order.

• Jeffrey Gedmin—another CFR member long active in “neoconservative” policy initiatives, including the so-called Community of Democracies;

• Alan Mendoza, director of the Israel-Diaspora Trust and founder of the Henry Jackson Society, named after the flamboyantly pro-Israel U.S. senator who employed Richard Perle and Stephen Bryan, who were investigated by the FBI of espionage on behalf of Israel.

• Allen Roth, president of One Jerusalem—funded by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson—which demands absolute Jewish control over the holy city. Also a long-time advisor to billionaire Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.

Among the official “founding members” of FII, there are others figures with equally interesting resumes, in light of their claim to “independence”:

• Alejandro Toledo, former president of Peru, known for his close ties to powerful pro-Israel families who constitute an influential clique among Peru’s elite.

• John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN and a key figure in “neo-conservative” circles including the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, founded by the aforementioned Stephen Bryan.

• David Trimble, a pro-British politician from Northern Ireland who was given the title “baron” by the British queen and who was appointed by Israel to the Israeli-controlled commission “investigating” Israel’s attack on the peaceful flotilla bringing aid to Gaza.

• Fiamma Nirenstein, a member of the Italian Parliament, who lives part of the year in Israel. Ms.Nirenstein is associated with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and has written laudatory prefaces to the writings of Muslim-hating propagandist Bernard Lewis and Soviet-born-turned-Israeli hard-liner Natan Sharansky, whose writings on global democracy were said to inspire the foreign policy of George W. Bush.

• George Weigel, an American Catholic writer who was celebrated for his attacks on Pope Benedict for reinstating excommunicated leaders of the Society of Pope Pius X because of reputed “Holocaust denial” by one of those clerics, Bishop Richard Williamson.

• Robert Agostinelli, an American billionaire investor whose entre into the world of finance came through his earlier association with the Zionist banking houses of Lazard Freres and Goldman-Sachs.

While these names proclaim “Israel is a normal Western country,” they ignore the fact Israel’s entire economy is based on billions of dollars in grants, subsidies, loans and other schemes—said by ex-Rep. Jim Traficant to reach as high as $25 billion—not to mention billions in “reparations” payments given annually to Israel by the German government. No “normal Western country” operates on any such foundation.

They also fail to acknowledge Israel is a theocracy known to discriminate against both its Christian and Muslim Arab citizens. In addition there are rising conflicts between secular Jews and Orthodox Jews, to the point that many have predicted a possible civil war between them. There is no other such unstable theocracy existing in any “normal” Western state.

Saying “Israel’s right to exist should not be questioned,” these Friends of Israel ignore the point made by former high-ranking CIA official Michael Scheuer, who was head of the CIA’s bin Laden tracking division.

Much of the unreality in U.S. attitudes toward Israel is a result of a historical arguments that Israel has “the right to exist.” Clearly, no nation has the “right to exist.” Darwinian logic applies to nation states as well as to the other components of the animal kingdom. . . . Nations exist as long as they can defend themselves, contain internal societal rot at non-fatal levels, maintain economic viability, and do not gratuitously make a constellation of more powerful enemies. This truism applies equally to all: The United States has no more right to exist than does Israel. . . . Supporting Israel’s “right to exist” is especially a historical when it is advocated by Americans, as it is a “right” they have never insisted on for their own nation. If they had, we would never [have] talked or negotiated with the Soviets after Premier Nikita Khrushchev promised that the USSR would “bury” the United States—surely a failure to acknowledge America’s right to exist if ever there was one.

And when these Friends of Israel say “Israel is our ally,” they ignore Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, resulting in the deaths of 34 Americans and the wounding of 172 others —an act designed to provoke a U.S. attack on Egypt which nearly resulted when President Johnson ordered a nuclear assault on Cairo (an order quickly withdrawn) thinking (as Israel intended) that Egypt had attacked the vessel.

by Michael Collins

December 7th, 2010, 9:35 am



Nothing surprising, there are still many in the west who look at their most “successful” colonialist project and see in it a justification for the many failed experiments over 400 years in the history of colonialism. Australia and the US are not counted now for (a) they are now part of the spirit and (b) the colonial project in them is under no threat as it has now transcended itself. It is the only western colonialism where the colonialists can come from any western nation, knowing for sure that they will be colonialists in the sense that they will engage, on arrival, in the colonialist pass-time to displace and dispossess the natives. Basically, it is the cry “Colonialists of The World, UNITE, in Israel”.

December 7th, 2010, 2:21 pm


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