Syria has confirmed that Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said Israel is willing to cede the Golan Heights in return for peace with Damascus.
Given my blood pressure at the moment, I am not sure I will be able to express my disdain for Olmet and this foolish act articulately enough. So I’ll quote Knesset Member Effie Eitam of the National Union-NRP, who said Olmert is sacrificing Israel’s safety in a “desperate attempt to show his constituents some sort of a political achievement… He is willing to give up the one strategic asset which has kept the northern border quiet for the past 40 years.”
I cannot stress the Golan Heights strategic value enough. Militarily, its high-altitude topography serves as a blockade against a Syrian military attack, the importance of which has increased due to advances in ballistic technology. It also enables Israel to keep track of Syrian military movements. In addition, the Sea of Galilee borders the southwestern Golan and provides one-third of Israel’s fresh water supply. The Golan’s fertile land has also enabled Israel to expand her agricultural sector, with approximately 40% of Israeli beef, 30% of Israeli fruit and 38% of Israeli wine exports coming from this region.
And what did Olmert ask for in return?
According to the officials, who confirmed that messages from Jerusalem to Damascus and vice versa have been going through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office for months, Israel made clear that any peace agreement would necessitate Syria ending its support for Hamas and throwing Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal out of Damascus; ceasing support for Hizbullah; and distancing itself from Iran.
In other words, the same kind of dissociation from terrorism we have demanded from the PA for the last 15 years, and which they still haven’t fulfilled.
And as if on cue, today’s news provides us another reminder why Olmert’s offer is suicidal.
Defense officials in Jerusalem have expressed concern over the possible revelation of classified data pertaining to Israel’s bombing of a Syrian nuclear facility last September during Congressional hearings on the incident which are slated to begin Thursday in Washington.
The American administration is slated to provide Thursday, for the first time, extensive details about the nature of the compound destroyed by the Israel Air Force on September 6.
The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Congress will hear from the Central Intelligence Agency that the facility destroyed in the Israel Air Force attack was a nuclear reactor for producing plutonium.
But hey, we are consistent. We have already shown by our previous concessions that terrorism pays; now we are showing that taking larger steps to wipe us off the map also pays.
By showing his willingness to relinquish the Golan Heights for little in return, Olmert has caused more damage to our country. For even though this matter would have to go to referendum, a previously red line has been crossed, and new expectations have been set. Just like the first time Israel acknowledged the existence of a distinct palestinian people and their bogus right to self-determination, as well as her willingness to give up parts of Israel and divide Jerusalem, the holiest city in Judaism.
The only thing right now I would be willing to relinquish is Olmert. And I wouldn’t even ask for anything in return.