Habib Zaarour | Political scientist Canada
May 27th, 2007

Re: ‘Syria's Occupied Golan Heights

At the 40th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of the Golan Heights, I would like to ask our Israeli neighbors some pertinent questions:

Why do you need to obtain US approval to have talks with Syria if such talks can produce for you greater security, stability and prosperity?

Why you are prejudging negotiations‚?? nature before they start? Are you not aware that priorities have already changed in the region? ‚?¶ That Syria, following the United State‚??s invasion of Iraq has reviewed and revised its Arab and regional strategies and policies.

Don‚??t you think that the young Syrian president Bashar is in need of security and stability to achieve the goals of the reforms he promised the Syrian peoples upon his arrival to the presidency after his father‚??s death?

Why are your leaders afraid of signing a peace agreement with Syria if really they believe in their superior power over all their Arab neighbors combined? ‚?¶ Why don‚??t they try direct negotiations with Syrian without American mediation? At least to realize what kind of negotiators the Syrians are and what they are prepared to offer for the return of the Golan.

Let your leaders give peace a chance, and then the Israeli people can determine whether this could lead to a lasting settlement. You would have nothing to lose if you consider yourself to be the super power in the region.

Your leaders always claim that they want serve the interests of Israel and the security and prosperity of its people, so where have these claims led you to? What kind of stability and security have they been able to provide?

If the Syrian Israeli ceasefire lines have remained quiet since 1975, so should you not have even better expectations after signing a proper peace agreement with Syria?

If Syria were to accept making the Golan, or parts thereof, a demilitarized zone in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal to the June 1967 border, wouldn‚??t this be in your interest and a guarantee for your peace and security?

Do you think the young generation of Syrians led by a young and open minded president, still favor aggressive means for settling conflicts related to Arabic causes, in the prevailing international political atmosphere?

Negotiating peace and security arrangement on the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel, doesn‚??t need to be blocked by the settlement of any other issues, such as Lebanon, Iraq, relations with the USA, or links with Iran and Palestinian organizations ‚?¶ as it is now clearer than ever, that a peace settlement between Syria and Israel can contribute to the settlement of most, if not all, outstanding conflicts in the region.

Your leaders need to understand, however, that Syria will not accept anything short of a complete pullout from the Golan without which, any further talk about negotiations will be meaningless and lacking in sincerity.

Syria is in need of peace as much as you are, if you are really interested in peace, whether for safety, security, stability or for ensuring further development and prosperity.

Syria is in need of peace to achieve progress in development of its economy. It hopes to regain its past leading position in the region as a trading and economic center.

Syria‚??s only official enemy is Israel. It is inevitable that someday they should meet to resolve issues and causes of this animosity so that peace and understanding can prevail.

The Syrian president has so far made several peace overtures towards Israel without receiving any positive response. Instead, Israeli leaders often describes his appeals as being nothing more than a Syrian attempt to boost the country‚??s international standing and end its international isolation.

I am now in my sixties. But I still hope to witness a negotiated solution to end the occupation of the Golan peacefully and peace prevailing among us and all the people of the Middle East.

Let‚??s give peace a chance for our future generations.

Let‚??s hope together. Don‚??t we deserve it?

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