The more time one spends in this region, the more one is perplexed by the weekly happenings. Take for example this past week’s interactions with Syria. The week begun with Syrian President Bashar Assad making overtures that he was ready for a peace treaty with Israel, this despite his country’s obvious involvement with Hezbollah, Hamas, the instability in Lebanon and Iran. Considering the amount of comments Assad directed at Israel after the Lebanon debacle about a possible confrontation with us, I wasn’t taking him so seriously. However, then some high ranking Syrian official said there were no preconditions to start the talks, which is odd considering the Syrians always demand the Golan as a ‘starter’ for talks. It’s going be a tough call for a nation which claims not to negotiate under fire, which it will be considering Syria’s active sponsoring of terror. However, going by Olmert’s recent comments of not responding to Syrian’s overtures due to American opposition, I doubt we’ll be seeing negotiations any time soon.
Olmert has yet again disappointed. Instead of acting like the leader of an independent nation, his comments make it seem as if America dictates all that we do. Olmert should have said something along the lines of: ‘If Assad is willing to stop instigating terrorism, I would be willing to discuss a potential treaty with Syria.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not supporting peace talks with Syria (not yet at least), especially not when Mossad chief Meir Dagan recently said that Syria is “’more prepared than ever before’ to take military action against Israel,” but we must at least try to see if Assad is being serious. We shouldn’t be guilty of, as Abban Eban put it with regards to our neighbors, missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace. Let’s put the ball back in Assad’s court, let’s see if he’s serious. If he’s doing it because of international pressure or because of some master plan, he’ll be found out rather quickly I assume. If he’s being serious, Israel should immediately ask for Eli Cohen’s bones as a showing of good will and start discussing a way of making our North Western border peaceful. Let’s call Assad on his proposal – bluff or not, we have nothing to lose.
On another note, for an interesting take on the Holocaust Conference in Iran, read Rachel Talshir’s ‘And Thanks to Ahmadinejad.’ Didn’t really LIKE the ending, but all in all, a solid editorial.