THE TALKS on the Syrian-Israeli track are not as complex as they are on the Palestinian track, something that would focus Israeli efforts on giving the negotiations with Syria priority over the Palestinians. On the Palestinian track the issues are more complex, involving borders, settlements, water, refugees, and Jerusalem. Once talks conclude and treaties are signed, that would lead to a push for the negotiations on the Palestinian track. Reconciliation would in turn pave the way for a long-sought Arab summit. The Israelis, meanwhile, will feel more confident once they achieve peace with Syria. And once out of the Golan Heights, they would succumb to contention that the Palestinians would not accept less than a full withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
THE NEGOTIATIONS between Israel and Syria are only beginning in Washington. Among the controversies surrounding a potential agreement is the unprecedented manner in which it is expected to be ratified - through a popular referendum. In this context, it is disturbing that considerable numbers of Israelis believe that an agreement should be ratified by a super-majority in order to negate the influence of the Arab vote. It should be clear that no one is suggesting that Israeli Arabs should not be allowed to vote in a referendum. It is wrong to single out any one group as somehow disqualified from influencing decisions, even critical ones, that are being made democratically.
FAITH IN just peace has become the strategic option of Syria since President Hafez al-Assad made it crystal clear to the whole world that there will never be peace, security and stability in the region so long as one inch of the Golan and South Lebanon remains under occupation or any legitimate right of the Palestinian people is usurped. By taking this honest attitude, President al-Assad has opened the way wide to the establishment of a just, comprehensive and durable peace.Reuse content