So the news broke today that we are in Peace Talks with Syria. Let's assume that this is NOT a scam to draw attention from Olmert's criminal investigation. I still find this idea totally hallucinatory.
Why is Israel doing this? It is quite obvious. Israel is worried about Iran. Lebanon have - today - become a Hizbolla state. The new PM is a Hizbolla sympathiser, and Hizbolla have a govt. veto. So now we are surrounded by Gaza, Lebanon and Syria who are all Iran allies and militant to Israel.
That is bad to say the least.
So Olmert plans to draw Syria away from Iran. In truth by doing this, he is also trying to draw Syria towards the U.S. and away from the "axis of evil". If Syria make Peace with us then they will get all sorts of aid just like Egypt after Camp David and be rewelcomed in the world community. THAT is the Syrian interest here.
So there is the logic.
Why is this bad?
1. Syria cannot be trusted. A country who house Mashal (head of Hamas) and arm Hizbolla, and who are building a nuclear reactor to attack Israel are hardly a Peace partner. Assad is a cruel dictator. A Peace partner?
2. When will we realise that we cannot manipulate the Arabs internal politics. We tried to manipulate the PA and we got Hamas, to manipulate Lebanon and we got Hizbolla. Every time we say that "they will become moderate," it backfires. Syria sees eye to eye with Iran. we will not be able to break that bond of friendship and shared vision. Even a Peace agreement will not break the Syrian-Iran alliance. If they are not moderate, they will not change for us.
3. The Arabs see us as on the retreat. As Ben Gurion said, we can only make Peace from a position of strength. We cannot be seen as desperate and therefore withdrawing further. We did that in Lebanon and then in Gaza. It just invites more attacks. If we do this now, they will see that we are terrified of Iran. They will view the Golan as yet another victory, a 3rd feather in their hat after Lebanon and Gaza, and it is more of the slippery slope. Bad News.
We must not retreat or show fear. Now is NOT the time to offer concessions. Now is the time to show our resolve and strength.
I reiterate... Peace with the Arabs can only be from a position of strength and strategic superiority. If I can be crude, only when we beat them will it be a real Peace.
4. Government?- What Government!
Last of all, and this is very important... a question of procedure. Senior Government ministers had no idea that the talks were happening. Eli Yishai is a dep. PM and a cabinet member. Israel is NOT a Presidential system. The Government's official line is against this. How can Olmert go against his govt. behind their backs and negotiate against his own Governments position?
I hate to say this but I really feel that Olmert is a liability. The sooner he is ejected from the PM seat the safer I will feel.