TIME: Israel, Syria Spent 'Great Deal of Time' Discussing Golan

A writer at the US-based weekly TIME magazine said Thursday that Israel-Syria talks over the Golan have been going on for some time.

Hana Levi Julian ,

The Golan Heights
The Golan Heights
Israel News Photo: file photo

A writer at the US-based weekly TIME magazine reports that Israeli and Syrian negotiators have long been involved in talks exploring scenarios that include Israel ceding the Golan Heights.

"It is a fair guess that the negotiators have spent a great deal of time discussing the Golan Heights," wrote TIME journalist Bobby Ghosh in the latest issue, published May 21.

Ghosh noted Israel's need to eliminate the presence of the Hizbullah and Hamas terrorist organizations from the border equations. Syria and Iran generously support both of the terrorism groups.

Ghosh, like other geopolitical analysts, finds little reason to believe the talks will lead to anything more than smoke.

"The Israelis aren't negotiating from a position of strength. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is deeply unpopular, buffeted by scandals and just barely clinging to power," he observed.

Undeterred by foreign assessments of his strength at home, Olmert announced Wednesday night that indirect talks with Damascus will commence within the next two weeks, brokered by Turkey. Noting that the security situation on Israel's northern border has not improved drastically since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Olmert declared emphatically, "It is always better to talk, than shoot!"