In recent secret messages from Israel to Syria, Tel Aviv signaled its willingness to give up the occupied Golan Heights in return for a peace agreement, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dispatched messages with German and Turkish diplomats to Syrian President Bashar Assad indicating that Israel is willing to hold direct peace talks and give up the Golan Heights, according to the report in the daily Yediot Ahronot, quoting officials close to Olmert.
In the past, Olmert repeatedly said he would be ready to negotiate with Syria only if Assad's regime distanced itself from Iran, Syria's most important regional ally, and ceased its support for armed groups dedicated to Israel's destruction.
Syria did not respond to Olmert's messages, the report said. President Bush gave Olmert the nod for negotiations with Syria in an hourlong phone conversation last month, according to the report, and the two leaders will further discuss the possibility of talks during their scheduled meeting at the White House on June 19.