Daily Israel Report

Syrian Opposition Leader: Israelis Can Remain in Golan

Farid Ghadry, leader of the opposition Reform Party of Syria, says that Israelis should remain in the Golan even though it must return to Syria.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 5/9/2011, 10:51 AM / Last Update: 5/9/2011, 12:11 PM

SRP

Farid Ghadry, leader of the opposition Reform Party of Syria (RPS) that has never had a chance to actually strike roots in Syria, says that Israelis should remain in the Golan even though it must return to Syria.

Ghadry, 57, has not lived in Syria since he was 10; his family moved to Lebanon in 1964, and then to the U.S. in 1975. He and other Syrian-Americans started the RPS in 1991, formulating a comprehensive program to bring regime change to Syria based on democracy, prosperity, freedom of expression, human rights and open borders with all neighboring countries including Israel.

Speaking with Globes this week, Maryland resident Ghadry said, “The Golan is Syrian, but here’s a concept that I think will work for both the Israelis and the Syrians: Israel conquered it for purely security reasons, since it’s easier to bomb the Galilee from there [as was often done in the years preceding the Six Day War; 140 Israelis were killed in these attacks – ed.]. But if Israel is promised that there will be no Syrian military use of the Golan at all, this should answer the Israelis’ security problems.”

Asked the obvious question of how such a promise can be made and believed, Ghadry said, “First of all, Syria must be a democracy with clean, non-corrupt politicians who understand public responsibility – not those who rush to make war, but those who will be concerned for the Syrian nation.” He said that there must first be a 5-10 year period of joint civilian use of the Golan, followed by another five-year period of preparations for the Golan to be transferred to Syria. “We don’t want to remove the Israeli Jews from there, but we also don’t want the Syrians not to enter the Golan. The solution is to create a free zone… The Israelis will be invited to remain in their homes, but it is Syrian land and they will pay taxes [to Syria]…”

Regarding the Arab League, Ghadry says, “It’s a league of dictators. They all turned their people against Israel, so that they wouldn’t see their own suffering.”

In a recent op-ed, Ghadry - who, unsurprisingly, has political opponents within the Syrian-American community, some of whom say he is a member of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC - wrote against Arab apathy towards the Syrian government’s murderous repression of protestors. In an op-ed entitled, “Where is your Syrian Humanitarian Flotilla, Erdogan?” he wrote: 

“It is unconscionable to think that people are dropping like flies on Syrian streets, the injured are hiding in private homes to avoid capture or cold-blooded murder, the funeral procession are being shot… yet the international community seems only willing to extend words of comfort. Where is your conscience, people?

"… Then comes [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan, who thinks Gaza is tragic with its people under siege and tyranny while Syrians, under his buddy Assad, enjoy comfort and freedom. Where is your humanitarian flotilla to Syria, Erdogan? Our injured, attacked by the snipers of your dear friend Assad, cannot go to hospitals for fear of being either killed on the spot or arrested to die under torture. Or does that not fit with your understanding of what a human tragedy is? 
“Are Gazans better people than Syrians? Is Assad too dear a friend for you to bother?

“And where are the Hamas Palestinians who seem to forget everyone else’s tragedy except their own? Where are their voices? Never expect Syrians to come to your aid again.”

Ghadry told Globes that he believes that Israel should step in on behalf of the Syrian people: “The Syrian [people] are waiting to see who is on their side; they feel abandoned. Erdogan and Ahmedinajad, Assad’s friends, are influencing from without. Hizbullah, Iran’s proxy, even sent forces to Syria in March to kill Syrians; I have a document proving it. Lebanon doesn’t really exist, and Iraq doesn’t exist. Jordan is sitting quietly, as are the Americans; the Europeans are not doing a thing. This is an opportunity for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, to do something. Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] should say, ‘We stand with the Syrian nation.’ You must understand, the Syrian nation is hungry for acceptance and is waiting for supporters. This is a golden opportunity for you and for us.”

Ghadry says that if he heads Syria, “I will detach all diplomatic ties with totalitarian regimes. Any country that uses force in any way – is off limits. I will cut ties with Hamas, Iran and Hizbullah… You have to understand that all your [Israel’s] agreements [with Arab countries and entities] are frauds, they won’t last for long. What you have is not true peace. If there is no relations between nations, it’s just temporary…”