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Washington DC – December 9, 2009 (Farid Ghadry Blog) — The Israeli Parliament is set to vote today on a new law requiring the government to seek a public referendum to approve any pullout from east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

While RPS has no opinion to express on the east Jerusalem portion of the bill (We will let our Palestinian brothers express theirs), we have plenty to say about the Golan Heights portion.

I have said it in my visit to Israel in June of 2007 and I repeated it behind closed doors during my visit with members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Knesset. The Golan Heights belongs to Syria and the Syrian people. But, until Syrian politicians become accountable under a democratic process, the responsibility of reclaiming fully the Golan Heights is too burdensome on Syria today. From a cost-benefit analysis, Syria cannot afford mishandling the Golan to the detriment of its economy unless Damascus captures the energies of its prosperous people who will be the ones to make peace with Israel.

But I also said that the return of the Golan Heights to Syria today is really a gift to Assad whose postures and actions resemble more that of a terrorist than a statesman. Just imagine, for a moment, what this peaceful act on behalf of Israel will do to boost Assad’s ego by creating a new monstrosity in the Middle East besieging the faith Syrians and Israelis alike will have one day in a true peace. The more Assad is given the chance to destroy, the less likely, on a sunnier day, Syrians and Israelis will be able to trust each other. Assad just revels in this notion because it insures that his illegitimate regime stays in power.

I am also encouraged by the opinion of the majority of Israelis who are not hopeful Assad can be domesticated. It would be an unnatural thought against the skepticism Israelis are known for.

As many Syrians in their heart support the Israeli action not to relinquish the Golan to Assad, Assad, for his part, will play Israel’s democratic process like a harp. It is expected that he will accuse Israel of warmongering or as the enemy of peace. Then, he may threaten, as his habit, with more terror masked as “resistance”. But most important of all, he will use the vote to expand his evil to new heights and to use the newly acquired Lebanese seat at the UN for sinister purposes.

Meanwhile, we applaud the expected passing of the new bill and hope for a better day when our own “Liberty” train station in Damascus will ferry Syrians to the Golan and then to beautiful Haifa for a weekend of festivities and Israelis can visit old Damascus and the many archeological finds of old remnants of Synagogues in Aleppo. If Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandella can dream, so can Syrians.

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