Israeli Defense Minister hints at willingness to speak with Syria
Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that Israel should hold an "urgent debate" to weigh Syria's recent diplomatic overture to consider entering into negotiations with Damascus.
Olmert on Saturday rejected recent appeals by Syrian President Bashar Assad to engage in peace negotiations.
According to Haaretz, Peretz told the cabinet Sunday that "We must make decisions over the significance of the Syrian arena, and its priority, whether it is important enough in order to enter into negotiations, and whether we have preconditions for negotiations with Syria."
"Any agreement comes with a price tag. In the case of Syria, the price tag is known," Peretz said, in a reference to the occupied Golan Heights.
"The question is, do we see high strategic importance in a severing of the tie between Syria and the radical axis, and in barring cooperation between Damascus and Hezbollah?"
Israeli premier Ehud Olmert spoke only briefly in response to Peretz, saying, "Even the German foreign minister was disappointed by his [own] visit to Damascus."