Sunday, October 15, 2006

Does Israel Want Peace?

Many would be outraged by even asking the question, “Does Israel want peace?” And, of course, the answer to the question – when taken out of any context – is “Yes, it does want peace.”

But, I fear, most Israeli’s desire only a fantasy peace – a peace for the Messianic era, or the peace of Heaven. They are either, not willing give up land for peace, and/or they believe that peace is not now, nor will it ever be, possible. In either case, peace is a childish fantasy, to be pursued by fools or traitors.

And as if to prove this point, Israel is now refusing to engage in peace talks with Syria.

The Syrian government has been strongly signalling that it is willing to sign a complete and final peace deal with Israel in return for all of the Golan Heights captured by Israel in 1967. Israel is refusing to enter into these talks.

For years Israel pushed for unconditional peace talks with Syria, and Syria refused. Now Syria is offering just that, and Israel is refusing. Optimists argued that a possible positive outcome of the Lebanese war might be to open up a channel for peace with Syria, thus cutting off Syria’s aid to Hezbolah, and removing a strategic ally from the Iranian sphere of influence. Now that this opportunity has come to pass, Israel is balking.

Friends of mine, who claim to know, say that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert was inclined to enter into such talks, but was afraid the Israeli public wouldn’t stand for it. This only makes things worse, showing both what weak leadership Israel has, and that we can’t blame this confusion of values (and strategic mistake), only on recalcitrant leaders.

Apparently the Golan wineries are now more important to us, than peace. I hope we learn our lesson when next the Syrians do cause harm to Israel, either by a direct attack, or more likely by continued support for virulently anti-Israel elements in Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories.

For a fuller analysis of this issue see "The Golan in the role of Sharm"
by former Mossad chief and Labor Knesset member - Danny Yatom and Dr. Moshe Amirav head of Public Policy Studies at Beit Berl College, and a Kadima Knesset member.

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