The president's two emissaries to Bashar Assad left Damascus the other
day with the message to Bibi Netanyahu that they and Barack Obama
expected a deal between Syria and Israel. What they meant was a deal
over the Golan Heights, the deal being mostly one-way: Israel should
descend for the Golan, maybe with a symbolic I.D.F. contingent left
someplace in the middle, and with Syria coming down to the waters of
the Galilee where it had never been previously. Close by to my
cousin's kibbutz (Sha'ar Hagolan, where when visiting before 1967 we
all slept in bunkers) and cheek-by-jowl to Ein Gev, a gorgeous kibbutz
whose members fish in the sea and where I once saw a reconstruction of
a first century fisherman's boat, perhaps like the one that Jesus
sailed. Frankly, I don't trust Damascus one inch. And, yes, I believe
that countries that relentlessly attack others (as Syria did Israel for
two decades) should be deprived of the territory from which they
launched their weapons. The Golan has very good wines and very
beautiful people, peaceful people, both Jews and Druze.
In any case, President Obama today seems not so certain about what can be arranged with the Assads. According to Reuters, he reinstated George Bush's sanctions on Syria.
Here is Obama's Thursday letter to Congress explaining his move:
The actions of the government of Syria in supporting terrorism, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and missile programs,
and undermining US and international efforts with respect to the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq pose a continuing and
extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.
The president left out the peril Syria poses to Lebanon's independence and Israel's security through its transfer of Iranian weapons and cash to Hezbollah.
So at least until Syria has stopped disturbing the U.S. can we be assured that the administration will not press Israel into suicide?