Assad: Israel understands that only peace can secure its safety
Syrian President Bashar Assad said that Israel might have decided to return to peace negotiations as a result of its fiasco in the 2006 War and after it realized that only peace can secure its safety among its neighbors.
Speaking to the Indian daily The Hindu, Assad said that "the Israelis used to think that with time they are going to be stronger and any opposition to their policies will be weaker, but actually what happened was the opposite…Now, the Israelis learned that without peace they cannot live safely and Israel cannot be safe…I think this is true especially after the war on Lebanon and because of the repercussions of that war on the Israeli society; this is the main incentive for the Israelis to move toward peace."
The Syrian leader reiterated his country's demand that Israel returns the Golan Heights in exchange for peace. "We don't have something to give but we have something to achieve together, which is peace… Israel has the land and should give it back."
When asked whether Israel wants Syria "to abandon its friends in the region – Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran," Assad said that the Israelis have been talking about negotiations without pre-conditions. "They cannot ask for conditions and they have not either."
"Iran does not interfere in Syrian issues," Assad told The Hindu. "They support the Syrian cause whether we are happy or they are happy, and that's why the relations between Syria and Iran are very strong."
In the interview, Assad dismissed claims that a Syrian facility bombed by Israel in September last year was used for nuclear development. "How could it be nuclear, where are the radiations, where are the protections of this facility? How can you build such a facility under the daily watch of satellites?" he said "The photographic and video evidence indicating this was a plutonium-producing reactor made with North Korean help was fabricated 100 percent," Assad added.