Jerusalem – Giora Eiland, the national security adviser to the Israeli government under former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, most recently provided a briefing paper on the negotiations with Syria for Israeli intelligence. The Bulletin obtained a copy of that paper.

Mr. Eliand relates what is not included in a possible peace agreement between Israel and Syria. According to Mr. Eiland, the agreement will not resolve seven critical issues:

1. The Iranian nuclear program. There is no connection between Syria and the Iranian desire or ability to acquire nuclear weapons.

2. The dismantling of Hezbollah. As opposed to the situation in 1999-2000, the Syrians do not control Lebanon (at least not formally), and therefore they will not commit themselves to stem Hezbollah from posing any threat.

3. Even if Syria commits itself to stop supplying arms to Hezbollah, its interest in supplying arms will continue to exist. Even if there will be such a commitment, there is no way to supervise it. (The Egyptians are not preventing arms smuggling to Gaza along a sector that is only 12 kilometers long, all consisting of level ground without vegetation. The border between Syria and Lebanon is hundreds of kilometers long, most of which consists of uneven, densely covered terrain.)

4. An Israeli-Syrian peace process will necessarily come at the expense of the Palestinian issue and, in any case, it will not contribute to its resolution.

5. Removing Hamas headquarters from Damascus. What is the connection between Khaled Mashaal’s location and the effectiveness of Hamas’ activity? Moreover, if there is peace between Israel and Syria, it would be preferable for Israel for Hamas headquarters to remain in Damascus.

6. The relationship with the Arab world. Just as the peace agreement with Jordan neither added to nor detracted from the peace situation, the Arab world will not accept the state of Israel as long as the Palestinian issue has not been solved.

7. Israel’s legitimacy in the world. Israel suffers from hostile treatment in the eyes of most of the world, since no nation recognizes Israel’s rule over the Palestinian minority. A peace agreement with Syria will not reduce this hostility.

Mr. Eiland’s conclusion, therefore, is that “the main argument in favor of a peace agreement with Syria is that this way we will avoid a war. It is not completely clear whether a withdrawal from the Golan keeps us further away from war or brings us closer to it.”

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.