[Former Mossad chief and leftist MK Danny Yatom calls for negotiations with Syria.]
Talk to Syria? About what? To return the strategically important Golan Heights is to commit military suicide. Beside, Syria doesn’t need them; their occupation does not prevent peace. Assad formulated his demands to Israel: a Palestinian state, a partitioned Jerusalem, and the return of the descendants of Arab refugees. He also implied that Israel and the US should stop treating terrorists as terrorists, and Syria as a terrorist state. No basis for negotiation. Assad is comfortable with the current situation. He needs talks only to boost his political position in the Arab world and rescue Syria from being an international outcast. For Assad, talks with Israel are a way to break Syria’s diplomatic isolation.
If, however, Israel attacks weak Syria because it hosts Hamas and aids Hezbollah, peace could ensue. With Israeli bombers over Damascus, Syria would have to agree to a peace treaty.
Other than an attack on Syria, a do-nothing policy is best. Israel doesn’t need economic cooperation with backward Syria. No peace treaty will let Israel disarm, since Syria would break the treaty if Israel became weak. A century of non-belligerence would be a better basis for peace than a paper peace treaty.
Neither should Israel conduct incessant negotiations with the Palestinians. Israel must act according to her enemies’ mentality: a strong power dispersing favors and blows. Set the terms for the Palestinians. If they do not comply, bomb them. Protracted negotiations and intermittent ceasefires allow the Palestinians to re-arm and dig in. Arms are trafficked into Palestine? Bomb the security offices. Rockets fired on Sderot? Clear the no-pass zone along the border with Israel and shoot anything that moves. An Israeli soldier is kidnapped? Shell Palestinian towns randomly until he is returned. So long as Israel owns a gun, she does not need to negotiate with a pen.