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A senior Syrian journalist told Ynet Sunday that Israel’s recent defeat in Lebanon would encourage the Syrians initiate military confrontation with Israel, which captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.
"The Lebanon War and the Israeli defeat are a source of inspiration and encouragement, and have a mobilizing effect on the Syrian people, that sees itself as a leader among the Arabs," he said.
Ynet said that the journalist's remarks could be viewed as indicative of current plans of the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.
"There is no doubt that the Lebanon war and the Israeli defeat are a source of encouragement, and also a source for recruiting the Syrian people who see itself as a pioneer and example to other Arab people. It is looking at how the Lebanese defeated and expelled the Israelis from their land while its land remains occupied,” the journalist told Ynet.
"The Syrian people understood the possibility that a war will break out, even at the price Damascus and Syrian cities being bombarded," he added.
Israel is not interested in peace, he stressed.
Syria has stepped up calls on Israel in recent months to restart peace talks, calls that were continuously rejected by the Jewish State, until the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently expressed cautious willingness to enter negotiations with Damascus.
On again-off again peace talks with Israel have never yielded any results.
Asked by the paper whether Syria would consider the military option to solve the Golan issue? The journalist replied:
“Certainly. Perhaps this scenario will not be realized through direct combat between the Syrian and Israeli armies, but guerilla warfare in the Golan is definitely being considered. In my opinion, without a diplomatic breakthrough soon this option becomes more and more significant.”
Asked “about the scenario raised in Israel according to which Syria would agree to lease out the Golan Heights to Israel in exchange for recognition of Syria’s sovereignty over the region?” the journalist said:
“This is another excuse, another ploy the extent to which the Israelis are playing games and are not serious. There are seven wonders in the world, and the possibility of leasing out the Golan Heights is apparently one of them.
“The Syrian stance is clear: We went to Madrid based on the territories for peace principle and Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. This must guide the negotiations; nothing else. Territories for peace – or more accurately, all of the territories for peace; this will prevent people from instilling any word games into international decisions. Leasing? The only chance this could ever happen is if a new Syrian regime comes to power on the back of an American tank. And this of course will not happen.
“Israel's dependence on America is not that tremendous."
About 17,000 Israelis live on the Heights in settlements set up following Israel’s annexation of the area in 1967.
Israel has made it clear it doesn’t intend withdrawing from the Golan Heights, for one third of its fresh water supply originates there, in the watershed of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).
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