A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
July 13 , 2007 Israel and Syria- War or Peace?
The Friday night news shows in Israel led with discussions on the chances for war with Syria. The general consensus was that there is no consensus. There is conflicting evidence both on the ground and in diplomatic contacts. Olmert made an open call to Assad to enter into negotiations and yesterday the EU’s chief negotiator for the Middle East. After meeting Assad the EU negotiator stated he believed the Syrian President was willing to break ties with Hizbollah and Iran if he could achieve a peace agreement. On the other hand, Assad seemed to insist that any peace talks include the United States, something President Bush has refused to consider.
In the meantime, both armies have prepared for the outbreak of a war. One thing will not happen… Israel will not be taken by surprise this time. Military analysts believe that there are two war scenarios: the first, a limited war on the Golan Heights, and the second, a more general war, in which Syria uses its missiles to hit targets throughout Israel.
Reports today claim that Israel has agreed to allow Nawaf Hawatmeh, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to come to Ramallah for a meeting of the PLO central committee. Hawatmeh was responsible for the Ma’alot Massacre, which took place over 30 years ago. The attendance of Hawatmeh is important to Abu Mazen since he is not a member of Fatah. Abu Mazen’s position is that the PLO is the ultimate authority in the Palestinian territories, and that the Fatah still maintains its majority.
Iran agreed today to allow UN inspectors to its Nuclear sites, “sometime in the not to distance future.” The head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei said that such deals will defuse the crisis with Iran. Israeli observers believe that Iran is just playing for time.