It seems that the Lebanese press is not really concerned by the issue, but has anyone been watching Syria lately?
Well, it has been making peace ouvertures for several years now, but this time it is proposing no pre- conditionality on the starting of negotiations, not even getting the Golan back. In a letter sent to Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, Syrian president Bashar el Assad is to say the least an ‘avant-gardist’:
the letter consists of a number of clauses that are meant to placate the international community: Syrian agreement on the establishment of an international tribunal to try those suspected of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on condition that the court will not be authorized to summon senior Syrian officials and army commanders; Syria’s will to discuss the future of the Golan Heights with no preconditions; Syria’s intent to act toward stabilizing its border with Iraq; act against Hamas leaders residing outside the Gaza Strip (meaning Damascus) in order to limit their influence on the group’s leaders in Gaza and prevent arms shipments to Hizbullah militants in Lebanon through Syria.
… Yes boys and girls and not only that but this has created a political split in Israel between a completely lost and weak Olmert trying to get re-assurances from (and actually scapegoating) the US that talking to Syria is out of the question for now, and a more fed-up Defense minister Peretz who supports talks.
Meanwhile some more expansionist Israelis are doing everything they can to “Israelize” the Golan area by issuing construction permits and accelerating building works. And of course you have the occasional pundits barking that the Golan is a strategic asset to Israel.
Syria may be exploiting the momentary US power reshuffling by reaching directly to Israel. The real question is how much all of this is done by taking into account Hizbullah and Hamas’ interests. Hizbullah could be a possible partner to negotiate peace but surely not Hamas. Now that an incestuous war is exploding in Palestine with the US pushing for corrupted puppets/criminals like Abbas and Dahlan (by the way Angry Arab has very interesting things to say on Dahlan and the recent assassinations in Gaza), how can Hamas accomodate with this formula?
Post Scriptum: While re-reading this post I came up with this joke: How do you recognize an Israeli? It’s a guy with some cement and guns (ok it’s the kind that makes you cry… yes bear with me as I don’t have the wit of an EDB, a Jamal, or a Rambler).