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Former Negotiator: Talk of Ceding Golan Encourages Syrian Threat

Former Israeli negotiator and ex-Cabinet Sec'y Yossi Ben-Aharon says that talk of giving away the Golan merely encourages Syrian aggression.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 6/10/2007, 6:10 PM

Former Israeli negotiator Cabinet Sec'y Yossi Ben-Aharon says that talk of giving away the Golan Heights merely encourages Syrian aggression.

Ben-Aharon, who led negotiations with Syria on behalf of Yitzchak Shamir's government over 20 years ago, said that talk of giving away the Golan - as reported in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's name over the weekend - is mere "folly and vanity."

"Every once in a while," Ben-Aharon told Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine, "a Prime Minister comes up with this idea of giving up the Golan Heights - as if he received the Golan as some kind of gift, when in fact it cost us much blood. Or as if he has some kind of guarantee - other than what is written on some piece of paper - that Syria will really cut off relations with Iran or stop supporting terrorism. Or as if he knows for sure that they will truly stop supplying terrorists in Lebanon with rockets and weapons. It's all folly and vanity."
If they threaten us, our response must be that if they even think of attacking us, we will respond with such force that it will send them back to the Middle Ages. This is a response that will keep the peace


It was reported on Friday that Olmert had offered the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for Syria's termination of its alliance with Iran, Hizbullah and other terrorist organizations. Before Israel captured the area in the 1967 Six Day War, Syria used it to shell Jewish towns and kibbutzim in the Galilee below.

Arutz-7's Uzi Baruch told Ben-Aharon that it appears to be common knowledge that there would be no peace with Syria unless the Golan is given up.  Ben-Aharon responded, "We naive Jews truly believe in peace, but actually, now that we have 'peace' with Egypt, we all know what it means to have peace with an Arab country. Egypt is right now mediating between Hamas and Fatah to have them point their guns at us, at Israel, instead of at each other. Egypt is also responsible for supervising the border with Gaza to ensure that no weapons or terrorists are smuggled in - and look how 'efficient' they have been. They just freed from prison some terrorists who built the tunnels... Egypt wages war against us in the United Nations and everywhere else..."

"And if, despite all, Egyptian peace could be considered good," Ben-Aharon said, "then peace with Syria would be even worse, because of Syria's long-time hostility towards us since even before 1948."

"It's time that we stop dreaming about peace," Ben-Aharon said, "and concentrate just on co-existence, meaning that we must be very strong and that our deterrence power must never, ever be perceived as weakness. Some may say that without offering the Golan , a war could break out this summer - but the best way to prevent war is not by running to give away the Golan; this is a show of weakness that will merely invite more aggression and empower the Syrians to threaten and attack us. If they threaten us, our response must be - via third parties - that if they even think of attacking us, we will respond with such force that it will send them back to the Middle Ages. This is a response that will keep the peace, and will find favor with the US to boot."