Following the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel and Bahrain and Israel and the United Arab Emirates, a growing number of Arab diplomats believe Syria is now conducting secret negotiations with the Jewish state.
According to a report by the London-based pro-Saudi Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday, there is now a “widespread belief” among Arab diplomats that Syria and Israel have resumed secret negotiations, similar to the unofficial talks conducted between Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the Ehud Olmert government in 2008.
While there has been no official confirmation of the talks, Arab diplomats have noted that Syria declined to condemn either Bahrain or the UAE for recognizing Israel and establishing formal relations with the Jewish state, while Iran – the Syrian regime’s close ally – publicly lambasted Bahrain and the UAE for making peace with Israel.
The report noted that the deal between Israel and the UAE coincided with the shipment of humanitarian aid from the UAE to Syria.
If talks have restarted between Damascus and Jerusalem, they will have several major hurdles to surmount, including Iran’s continued military presence in Syria, which Israel has emphasized in the past it will never accept. In addition, Syria has long refused to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and has in past negotiations demanded the surrender of the Heights as a condition for peace.