Bibi, Obama Derail Syrian Talks

Netanyahu reaffirmed that Israel will keep the Golan, and Obama extended sanctions against Syria for backing terror. Peace not around the corner.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ,

Netanyahu on the Golan: No surrender
Netanyahu on the Golan: No surrender
Israel News Photo

Peace talks with Syria appeared to be back to “square zero” as the Obama government extended sanctions against the country for backing terror while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reaffirmed that the Golan Heights is not negotiable.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has conditioned direct talks with Israel on Israel's willingness to hand over the strategic area. Retaining the Golan was one of the principles of Netanyahu’s campaign in the recent Knesset elections.

The Prime Minister also said in an interview with a Russian-language newspaper that he is prepared to defend his policy during his scheduled talks with United States President Barack Obama in Washington next week.

Advisors to Obama have been trying to include both the Iranian nuclear threat and peace with Syria as part of a regional agreement based on the establishment of a new Palestinian Authority state.

However, on Friday Obama's government ordered the extension of sanctions against Syria that the Bush administration implemented in 2004. The U.S. labeled Syria a country that supports terrorist groups, particularly Hamas and Hizbullah.

Earlier in the week, the Obama government sent two high-ranking officials to Damascus to advance closer ties with Syria. While they were en route, Assad was welcoming Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the two leaders stated that nothing could break their alliance.

They added that both countries back “Palestinian resistance,” meaning violent acts against Israel.