According to the defense minister, Assad's first priority is the survival of his regime. His second priority is getting the international tribunal into 2005's assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri canceled, a tribunal that is expected to point an accusatory finger at the highest echelons of the Syrian government.
Third, according to Barak, is securing a "special status" for Syria in Lebanon, followed by getting itself into the good graces of the US and the West. Only after all those interests does the Golan Heights enter Assad's list of priorities. (Herb Keinon's, 'Peace not a priority for Damascus', Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2008)
It is vital that the Knesset stops any pseudo peace plan with Syria that current Israeli Prime Minister Olmert may try to run through. In 2006 Olmert pledged to never give up the Golan in any peace deal with Syria. (April 24,
Benjamin Netanyahu, the likely next Prime Minister of the State of Israel pledged to ignore any peace deal Olmert signs with Abbas. (April 22,
Despite what Olmert has done in the past I have nothing against him doing good for his people, and getting a little honor along the way with it. But the giving of strategic land to an unrepentant regime that historically has only used the exact territory in question as a platform to wage war from is the worse thing Olmert could try to do to his people. What is Olmert thinking? For the sake of true peace in the Middle East, we cannot assume that Olmert, under such serious pressure, is fully thinking this through. Assad's closest ally is Iran of all countries.
Syria must reject terror bases in its land, it must desire peaceful relations, and it must give up its constant demands for the Golan as a prerequisite for its civilized behavior. Paradoxically, then Israel would be empowered to consider some sort of land for friendship deal if they so choose to. But not land for peace. Land for peace, in an age of terror, is nothing less than fuel for terror. A pseudo justification used by enemies of peace to deceive their people that Israel is still their enemy, when all Israel wants to do is the same as any other Western nation wants to do; business with its neighbors and never war.
Assad, on the other hand, wants his people distracted from their lack of freedom, and the only way to do that is if Israel is an enemy. Therefore, we must assume that any attempt to get peace exclusively on condition of gaining the Golan when Iran is primed to attack Israel at the slightest excuse, is nothing other than a preparation for war in the immediate future by the leaders of both Syria as well as the silent partner in this sorted affair, Iran. All friends of peace should be opposed to such a disgusting perversion of the concept of peace, and discourage Israeli leadership from making such a tragic mistake!
When dealing with people like Assad, you do not seek common ground, you make them leave their philosophy of evil and chart a new course. The path toward the concept of true peace is education of all sides of what objective peace is. Such as no backstabbing, no support of terror, and a host of other concepts that you and I take for granted, but corrupted people may not fully grasp. That is why evenhanded mediation with terrorists only strengthens them, not the cause of true peace.