Peres: Golan Could Be Returned

Israeli President Shimon Peres told CNN Israel was ready to "change the situation in the Golan Heights" in exchange for peace with Syria.

Gabe Kahn. , | updated: 6:26 PM

President Shimon Peres
President Shimon Peres
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Never one to miss an opportunity to push his personal initiatives irrespective of positions taken by Israel's government, President Shimon Peres on Tuesday said Israel was ready to "change the situation in the Golan Heights."

In an interview with CNN during his visit to Washington, Peres said Israel has always desired peace with Damascus and that all former prime ministers have been willing to give up the former Syrian territory in exchange for a deal.

However, the Syrian government must choose between peace with Israel and continuing to 'service Hizbullah and Iran," Peres said.

But Israel's current government has taken the position that the Golan Heights are not on the table.

During a tour of the Golan Heights in 2009 Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "We are here to state unequivocally: A Likud-led government will stay on the Golan Heights."

Peres is well-known for the secret diplomacy he undertook to lay the framework for the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Capitulation has traditionally led to Israeli deaths. In the five years following the Oslo agreement 279 Israelis were killed in 92 terror attacks - a number greater than the deaths in the fifteen years preceding the Accords.

That trend repeated itself after Ariel Sharon agreed to the United States' so-called Road Map for middle east peace. Between 2000 and 2007 more than 1,000 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks.

Channel 10 reporter Nadav Eyal revealed a Wikileaks document indicating Peres secretly regards Oslo as having been a 'mistake,' “Netanyahu commented that Shimon Peres had admitted to him that the Oslo process had been based on a mistaken economic premise, and as a result European and US assistance to the Palestinians had gone to create a bloated bureaucracy, with PA employees looking to the international community to meet their payroll.”

Israel's government has not responded to Peres' remarks.