Israeli officials stated on Monday Turkish mediation to push peace talks between Israel and Syria is unlikely to achieve any progress as the gap between the Syrian and Israeli positions is still wide.The officials added that it is unlikely that a Syrian-Israeli meeting could be held before the US President, George Bush, leaves office.
Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported that an Israeli official said that the gap is still wide and that Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, demands talks without preconditions, as Syria demands achieving an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights.
Meanwhile, Turkey is attempting to achieve a compromise that would give a momentum to peace talks between Israel and Syria. Yet, Israel officials said that it is unlikely that a breakthrough would occur and lead to a meeting before Bush leaves office.
Political analysts in Israel said that Olmert’s acceptance of the Turkish mediation came after peace talks with the Palestinians side tumbled once again. They stated that Olmert will try to increase his gradually declining popular support by achieving a progress on the Syrian track.
The analysts added that Olmert does not have the will or the power to achieve a breakthrough on the Syrian and Palestinian tracks.
Israeli newspaper, Maariv, said that the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Syria on Sunday and met with its president Bashar Asad, informed the later that Olmert intends to push the peace process forward.
Maariv added that Olmert informed Erdogan of the outlines of his plan to advance peace talks with Syria.
Maariv also said that “all estimations show that Olmert will agree to hold a historic meeting with Asad if the later asks Turkish PM to mediate for such a meeting”, the Arabs48 news website reported.
Last week, Erdogan met with Asad in Damascus and informed him of Olmert’s position. Erdogan also stated that he will exert efforts to hold an Israeli-Syrian meeting under a Turkish mediation.
Maariv reported that Olmert wants peace talk with Syria to start from square zero while Syria demands that talks should start from where they stopped in 2000.
In 2000, the then-Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a fundamental Jew, vowed to withdraw from the Golan Heights.
Also, Olmert conditions talks with Syrian with halting the Syrian support of Palestinian resistance factions and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party. Olmert also demands Syria to cut its strategic ties with Iran.
Yet, Olmert recently said that Israel is interested in talks with Syria “in order to further it from the axis of evil”.
The Syrian president said that his country rejects secret talks with Israel, and that Syria wants to hold talks which would achieve an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.