|Naim Nazha | M.D.||United States|
The Golan has been under Israeli occupation for forty long years, during which mistrust between Israel and Syria has increased, but this trend can be reversed.
During these forty years many wars took place, and Israel won all of them to varying degrees. Yet peace is no closer today for the people of Israel than it was than forty years ago, considering among other things that the water supply is within reach of simple artillery.
Looking at these wars and what they achieved for Israel and Syria, I see no benefit at all but only destruction and death. And for what? Israel can not occupy Syria once and for all, and Syria will always be there to fight back.
We Syrians realize that Israel is here to stay and I personally feel they should stay and live in peace with the other Semitic people to whom they belong. Syria does not intend to destroy Israel and knows that it cannot, but only wants to live in peace together.
If I were an Israeli, I would look around and see that fundamentalists are on the rise, that the population of Syria is growing, and that Syria will never abandon the Golan Heights. Prime Minster Olmert seems to understand that the Golan Heights is the price for peace and there is no other way around that. So again if I were an Israeli, I would look at what I want from occupying the Golan.
1) peace with Syria, which is achievable and was very close during Barak’s tenure as Prime Minister.
2) access to drinking water, which has been Israel’s undeclared intention during the time its declared intention during this time was to seek peace with Syria. Syria will never use water as a weapon. It could have poisoned the water which will make it useless, but it did not. In fact, Syria never bombed an Israeli city during the wars between the two countries. Furthermore, with a comprehensive peace, Turkey could increase water supply to the Euphrates, which could captured by the Assad Dam then brought to the Sea of Galilee via a canal, which would help Israel.
3) skiing at the slopes of Mount Hermon, which could continue, as could other tourism in the Golan Heights. Given a comprehensive peace, I do not see anything wrong with an Israeli company having investments in Syria as it will also be the case for Syrian investments in Israel.
4) The wine of the Golan, which seems to be popular among Israelis. As I mentioned above, Israeli investments will be welcomed.
Looking at the options available to Israel, I see peace on the one hand, which offers all the things Israel wants and needs, or war after war on the other hand, with more death and a possibility of losing one war and losing everything.
I do not know about you, but I want Israel to survive and having peace with Syria looks like an easy choice as well as a logical one. The extra benefit from peace with Syria is probably peace with Lebanon, which proved during last summer’s war that bombardments from its territory can reach much of Israel and force people to flee their homes. It is time for peace, isn’t it?