Israel's Public Security Minister says returning Golan Heights to Syria is legitimate
Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter stated on Monday that he would be willing to return the Israeli occupied Golan Heights to Syria in return for peace.
"In return for a true peace with Syria or with Lebanon, over those issues that from the standpoint of the land have a history, which we know and the Syrians know and the Lebanese know, I think that what we did with Egypt and with Jordan is legitimate here as well."
Dichter, of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party, added that negotiations with Syria could be "initiated via a third-party," he said, according to Haaretz.
Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since 1967. In 1979, it agreed to return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, also captured in 1967, in return for a full normalization of relations between the two countries. Israel's 1994 peace treaty with Jordan also included the return of occupied land.
Dichter added that holding talks with Syria is legitimate, if a viable party exists on the other side talks should take place. Such negotiations "could be initiated via a third-party," he said.
Earlier, Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had been appointed as "project manager" for potential negotiations with Syria.
Though many in Israel have expressed willingness to renew talks, especially in light of strengthened ties between Syria and Iran, Olmert remains adamantly opposed to such an idea as long as the U.S. keeps Syria on its list of "terror" supporting states.
"We should not get carried away with false homes that will wink at someone and immediately he'll be ready for negotiations," Olmert stated according to Ynet.
Israeli parliament member Zahava Gal-On, however, voiced support for Dichter's proposal, saying, "It's better to have peace with Syria without the Golan Heights than the Golan without peace" .
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