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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Nisan 29, 5767, 4/17/2007

      Rattling the Saber in Damascus

      Efforts to appease the Syrian regime only serve to encourage its bellicosity and belligerence
      Well, it looks like all that Western pandering to Syria in recent weeks is already bearing fruit.

      Despite high profile visits of late to Damascus by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the Syrian regime has once again openly threatened to wage war against the Jewish state.

      Speaking at a press conference in the Syrian capital on Monday, Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal told reporters that if Israel does not go along with the Saudi peace initiative, then his country would not hesitate to take the Golan Heights "by way of resistance."

      Similarly, last fall, Syrian President Bashar Assad made a series of public statements in which he threatened military conflict with Israel and expressed his desire to retake the Golan Heights by force.

      In an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anba on October 6, Assad said that Damascus was ready for war with the Jewish state, and prior to that he insisted that the Golan would be "liberated by Syrian arms," warning Israel to "seek peace or face the threat of defeat."

      And so, once again, we see how efforts to appease the Syrian regime only serve to encourage its bellicosity and belligerence.

      Instead of talking tough to Damascus, various Western leaders have preferred the path of appeasement. Not surprisingly, this is viewed as weakness by the Syrian leadership, which takes comfort in the fact that they can continue to act with impunity.

      Will Solana, Pelosi, et al ever learn?