Daily Israel Report

Bush to Assad: Sever Ties with Iran and Take the Golan Heights

In a secret letter, U.S. President George W. Bush has offered Damascus to pull Israel out of the Golan Heights if Syria agrees to abandon Iran.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 10/17/2008, 11:49 AM

U.S. President George W. Bush offered Syrian President Bashar Assad a secret deal to pull Israel out of the Golan Heights in exchange for Damascus breaking off ties with Tehran, according to a report published Friday in the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida.

 

A Palestinian Authority (PA) source quoted in the report said Bush reportedly proposed "a quick and satisfactory solution" to Syria's dispute with Israel over the Golan Heights. The "solution" was to be finalized "within several weeks, before the U.S. presidential elections, in order to push the Middle East peace process, an achievement the president will be able to proudly present before leaving the White House in January," according to Cairo-based journalist Abdel-Wahab Al-Nasser.

 

The offer allegedly came in a letter sent via PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who arrived in Damascus for meetings with Assad and other Syrian officials beginning last Saturday.

 

Abbas's visit was billed at the time as an attempt by Abbas to shore up his political position within the PA due to the fact that his current term in office ends on January 9, 2009, and as part of his effort to reconcile his Fatah faction with the rival Hamas terrorist organization that took over complete control of Gaza in June 2007.

 

According to the PA source, the real purpose of Abbas's visit, however, was to deliver the secret letter, the knowledge of which was kept secret from the American Ambassador in Damascus and the members of Abbas's entourage. It was delivered personally by Abbas to Assad, said the source, who added that "the United States stressed the importance of this confidential letter outside the usual official channels."

 

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman David Baker said in response to a call from Israel National News, "We have nothing to comment regarding that report."