Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is exploring, via a third party, the possibility of resuming peace talks with Syria. A government source told Haaretz there was no direct contact between Israeli and Syrian officials, "but a very serious assessment is underway."
Olmert has recently referred to the possible resumption of talks with Syria in closed meetings. "The price is clear. There may be a debate on the payment terms, discounts etc. but the main question is what Israel would receive in return. Will it receive peace like [the one it has] with Egypt, peace like Britain and France have, or a deception: Give us the Golan, and all you'll get is an alliance between Syria and Iran and Hamas headquarters in Damascus," he was quoted as saying.
Publicly, Olmert's attitude toward the Syrians has remained cool. On Wednesdat he told a U.S. Congress committee, "I'm interested in making peace with Syria and it appears that the present Syrian regime, which supports terror, is not interested in reaching an agreement."
On her part, Olmert spokeswoman Miri Eisin declined comment on whether Israel had made any overtures to Syria. But she said Olmert has repeatedly said he is "in favor of peace with Syria." "But he questions the desire of the present Syrian government to arrive at a resolution and not just participate in a process," Eisin said.