I've got my own views about Israel giving the Golan Heights to Syria, and they are views based in the history that the ignorant or indifferent press people leave out. First of all, in 1967 the Syrians used the Golan Heights in an unprovoked aggression against Israel trying to overwhelm and occupy the Galillee. If the Syrians had not moved from the Heights (just as if Jordan had not attacked from the West Bank) all of the territories now in Israeli hands would have been under Arab control. On this there is absolutely no question. This is the etiology of the "occupied territories." But that essential part of the narrative is almost never mentioned. Do you recall a newspaper or TV show alluding to this crucial historical fact? I'd bet not.

After World War II, the allies allocated to themselves (and their allies) territories from which Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy had aggressed against the rest of Europe. These are the costs paid by the bellicose and the belligerent. Japan paid a similar price, too.

What is the rationale for the Arab countries being rewarded for their diversion of water supplies, tank crossing of borders, sending artillery and terrorists through otherwise quiet frontiers?

The fact is that Syria never accepted any of the territorial arrangements begun at Versailles, and it is doesn't accept them now. That the big powers and the Arab potentates have now acceded to the Syrian conquest of Lebanon in collaboration with Hezbollah is another sign that any agreement with Damascus will be soon violated. If all of the maps drawn after the First World War have no standing then the Golan Heights are also up for grabs. And Israel grabbed them when its very life was menaced from them.

Yossi Klein Halevi, TNR's Israel correspondent, has written for the L.A. Times a very persuasive geo-strategic analysis of why Jerusalem should not give Damascus the Golan for any promise. Here is the piece. It's tough. Being soft on Syria is simply stupid.