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Israeli Knesset: No to a Golan Giveaway ^ | April 25, 2008 | P. David Hornik

Posted on 04/25/2008 5:20:04 AM PDT by SJackson

Israeli Knesset: No to a Golan Giveaway


By P. David Hornik | Friday, April 25, 2008

With Hamas and its colleagues mounting daily terror attacks from once-Israeli-controlled Gaza, with weapons flowing to the terror enclave through once-Israeli-controlled Sinai, with Hezbollah amassing an unprecedented quantity and quality of missiles in once-Israeli-controlled southern Lebanon, with only 24/7 Israeli military activity preventing a Hamas takeover of the West Bank—the push to get Israel to give up its remaining strategic assets continues.


This week President Bush met with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in what looks like an increasingly unhinged quest to get Israel out of the West Bank by the end of this year. Whereas Bush and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert have effectively recognized the putative Palestinian state even before it exists, Abbas made clear at last November’s Annapolis conference—convened by Bush—that he refuses to recognize the Jewish state that already exists. For this and numerous other offenses to decency and amity Abbas incurs no penalty in Bush’s eyes.


Meanwhile, with Gaza a cauldron, Sinai a smuggling route, southern Lebanon bristling, and the West Bank precarious, Syrian newspapers have reported that Olmert, through Turkish mediation, has been conveying to Damascus his willingness to cede the Golan Heights as part of a peace agreement. Syrian president Bashar Assad confirmed it in an interview to a Qatari newspaper on Thursday. Olmert’s spokesman Mark Regev pointedly did not deny it.


Syria, by making the contacts public now, wants to deflect negative attention stemming from Thursday’s congressional hearings on the Israeli strike on its nuclear facility last September. The fact that the contacts have been ongoing shows that Olmert, however, is serious.


The reports, though, sparked a furious reaction in the Knesset (see here and here) that included not only right-wing parliamentarians but also—in a display of political rowdiness unusual even for Israel—members of Olmert’s own supposedly centrist Kadima Party.

One Kadima MK, Ze’ev Elkin, said, “Olmert has been fooling the Israeli public and the international community, making promises he can’t keep…he has no support for this move, neither in the Knesset nor in Kadima.” Another Kadima MK, Marina Solodkin, said, “I am utterly against any withdrawal from the Golan, mainly because Syria is in cahoots with Iran and Hezbollah. Peace with Syria at this point in time is suicidal for Israel.”

Still another Kadima MK, David Tal, said he would push for quick passage of a bill requiring a national referendum for any withdrawal from the Golan—the idea having repeatedly been shown in polls to be unpopular among the Israeli public.

As Likud MK and defense expert Yuval Steinitz put it, “Olmert’s willingness to come down from the Golan is an expression of unprecedented political and security anarchy. Israel will have serious trouble defending itself and its water sources. I have no doubt the public is on the Golan’s side, not the prime minister’s.”

Actually, in seeking to give away a strategic plateau containing vital water sources, where there is no large Arab population, where Israeli communities have been growing and flourishing since 1967, and that most of the Israeli population loves as a site for hiking, camping, skiing, and general vacationing, Olmert is doing nothing unprecedented. He is, rather, following a baneful tradition that includes Prime Ministers Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu, and Barak before him.

The fact that even Rabin and Barak, who were considered hawkish Laborites for most of their respective careers, and Netanyahu, a large part of whose raison d’être as an Israeli politician is relative hawkishness, made Golan offers or at least sounded Syria out on the subject is testament to the enduring irrational power of the land-for-peace paradigm even when it contradicts logic, the empirical record, national interests, and the will of the majority of the Israeli people.

All the more striking is that Olmert has revived the Golan-giveaway bogey at a time when by all accounts the United States—to whose policy Olmert is slavishly submissive on almost all other issues—has no enthusiasm for the idea and does not buy the baseless thesis that Assad can be lured out of the Iranian-led axis with an offer of Israeli land. That thesis entails ignoring the fact that Assad’s is a minority-Alawite regime requiring enmity toward Israel for its legitimacy, bent on dominating Lebanon, and having tight sectarian, economic, ideological, and strategic bonds to Iran and Hezbollah.   

The quick, incensed response of a large swath of the Knesset is, though, encouraging and—in conjunction with some recent polls indicating considerable security realism, in general, among the Israeli public—offers hope that Israel is climbing out of its descent into appeasement. As for the United States, whether it can overcome the destructive land-for-peace fantasy regarding the Palestinians is a question that will apparently have to wait till after the Bush administration.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: golan; israel; knesset; syria

1 posted on 04/25/2008 5:20:04 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.

High Volume. Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking on the Topic or Keyword Israel. or WOT [War on Terror]


2 posted on 04/25/2008 5:25:58 AM PDT by SJackson (before we work on problems, have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation, Michelle O.)
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To: SJackson

I can’t believe people are so stupid to believe that Syria will tell Iran to go to hell for a big hill.

Syria has no oil, do they really think that Iran won’t use it to twist Assad’s arm on Israel, especially now with prices so high?

Israel won it in a war where they were attacked without direct provocation by all her neighbors. She paid for that hill with blood, it is hers now to do with as she pleases.

3 posted on 04/25/2008 5:37:28 AM PDT by Abathar (Proudly posting without reading the article carefully since 2004)
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