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In your face, Bashar Assad

12/31/2003

"Israel wants land, not peace." That is the theme of a new anti-Israel smear campaign initiated - by right-wing Israeli Minister of Agriculture Yisrael Katz.

The revelation that Israel is planning an ambitious expansion of settlements in the Golan Heights has caused quite a stir. The Israeli economy is in trouble. The Knesset has not approved the budget, and bitter parliamentary squabbles have accompanied allocation of every Shekel. Miraculously, NIS 300 million were found to pay for 900 new housing units in the Golan heights. The timing of the announcement of this plan, so close after the the recent offer by Syrian President Bashar Assad to resume peace negotiations with Israel, was not an accident. It is evidently intended to be Israel's response to the Syrian peace offer.

Agriculture minister Katz told the newspaper Yedioth Ahronot, ""The government decision is a response to the initiative of Syria, which said it is interested in peace..." He told Israel Radio, "It is good for everyone to know that Israel has no intention to loosen its hold on the Golan, but exactly the opposite."

Assad's announcement was a positive step. It may be insincere, and it may be motivated by attempts to counter the growing US impatience with Syrian promotion terrorism and cooperation with Saddam Hussein and his allies. However, any rumors of peace are better than threats of war.

The announcement of this plan, which aims to double the number of settlers in the Golan, can hardly be expected to be a public relations coup for Israel. The way in which it was announced was almost worse than the plan itself. Katz's outrageous statements could have been written for him by the Syrian propaganda ministry. What was he thinking? What was the government thinking? Katz was not thinking of Europe. He was not thinking of Syria. He was not thinking of the USA. Katz was thinking only of promoting his image as a right-wing superpatriot, and the government was thinking only of appeasing right-wing coalition partners.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000148.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 2 comments

Of course Israel will keep the Golan Heights, and well they should!! If they gave it back, Syria would start lobbing crap the next day...I don't particularly like Israelis, but I know what scum the Syrians truly are...

Posted by tom fowler @ 01/06/2004 02:03 AM CST

Of course Israel will keep the Golan Heights, and well they should!! If they gave it back, Syria would start lobbing crap the next day...I don't particularly like Israelis, but I know what scum the Syrians truly are...

Posted by tom fowler @ 01/06/2004 02:03 AM CST


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