Arab Israeli Knesset member Beshara: No chance for peace talks with Syria
Dr. Azmi Beshara, an Arab member of Israel’s Knesset [Parliament] and a leading Arab intellectual, asserted to Al Bawaba Monday that he had heard about former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's proposal to the Syrians in 1999, but assured he was not the one who delivered this plan to Damascus.
Beshara, who still refuses to meet with current Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon, uttered to Al Bawaba, "I would be very proud and happy to mediate between Israel and Syria to achieve peace. But this never happened and has also been denied by the Syrians."
Dr. Beshara added that he inquired about Syrian-Israeli peace talks during Barak's term in office, which made people think he might have been involved in such talks, in one way or the other.
Beshara commented, "In Barak's government, I had the opportunity to evaluate his [Barak] performance and I knew he was a liar before anyone could tell. So, I advised the Syrian side not to accept any mediations or talks with such a liar, and logically I would not mediate between the Syrians and a liar as I had described Barak previously. I also would like to advise the Syrians that there is no chance for any talks with Israel under the current situation."
"I can't see any role to be played by Arab nationalists in Israel now. We are not the targets of all these releases; it is meant to make Barak look as if he was willing to give away some land to Syrians. I think Sharon has already started his election campaign."
On Monday, Sharon told the Knesset's foreign affairs and defense committee that Israel would have to withdraw from the Golan Heights to reach peace with Syria.
Replying to a question whether he would now deliver any Israeli letters to Syria, Beshara said, "My party and I even refuse to meet with prime minister Sharon as long as he refuses to meet with President Arafat."
Shimon Peres, head of Israel's Labor party, had recently offered an initiative during a meeting to discuss the party's plan to have future working plans with Syria.
Beshara commented on Peres' initiative by saying, "There should not be any previous conditions [set] as a first step to negotiations with Syria. I think that Syrians would never agree to [the] Labor party's conditions and I think this is a logical and fair stance." (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)