There is little evidence that Israel values peace

Some statements and actions by the Israeli government stir the prolonged doubt of the Syrian and Arab world in Israel’s real motivations and sought goals for engaging in peace negotiations. An impetus for this doubt is the absence of any evidence that Israel realizes the tactical and strategic value of peace with Syria. This is often manifested in Israeli pre-negotiations demands, such as that Syria sever its relations with Iran, while, for instance, the Israeli ally Russia has similar, if not stronger, ties with Iran.

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Israeli counter-arguments to above objection


One can always speculate about the “real motivations” behind each side’s participation in peace talks over the past two decades. For every Arab voice doubting Israeli sincerity there will be an Israeli one doubting Syria’s. But fact remains, both sides found various interests in showing up at the table.

In the end, it is not the will of one leader, one party, or one government that matters. It is the will of the people itself. Are the Syrian people any more interested in Peace for their children’s future than the Israeli people? No, both seek a better, safer future.

Both Israel and Syria have been portrayed as having made non-starter preconditions. The former, with regards to Syria’s alliances with Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. The latter, with regards to full withdrawal from the Golan. In Israel, some people do not understand why Israel must commit to a full withdrawal in advance. Why this cannot be discussed during negotiations. In Syria, likewise, people do not understand why Syria should “give” its strategic alliances away either in advance, or at all. Again, similar situation.

Continuing to focus on the preconditions of each side, even if they are justifiable and legitimate, will not get us very far. Beginning to develop the language and the concepts that will present to each nation the benefits of Peace, is much more beneficial and necessary.

To build trust, neither side must pose preconditions upon the other. Red lines can be introduced later on. They will be far more easily accepted, understood, and appreciated by the other side, after trust has been established.


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It is true that Israelis today have become more disinterested in peace, compared with the excitement that took hold over Israel after signing the peace agreement with Egypt in the late 70’s, and even compared with the euphoria that reigned after the signing of the Oslo accord, an euphoria that didn’t encompass all Israelis, but was still shared by the majority.

Compared with these past times, Israelis are now much more cynical about peace. To a large degree, it is the disappointment from those past agreements, which have not translated into normalization opportunities, which has devalued the worth of peace in the Israeli mind. In other words, Israelis automatically assume that a peace accord with Syria will lead to “cold peace” and as such, find it difficult to justify the price that will be paid in return for peace (e.g., the Golan).

Perhaps, if Syria were to “give us a taste” of what normalization might look like, e.g. by inviting journalists from Israeli papers to tour Syria. Perhaps after such confidence building measures (CBM’s) are implemented, Israel will start to see the advantages of peace, yet again.



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One Response to “There is little evidence that Israel values peace”

  1. 1
    David Herman, Student, Student wrote:

    Having the journalists from either side would not be beneficial or a confidence building measures because most people are cynical about what they read. There is too much propraganda that each side would try to manipulate what one saw and influence the other side.

    A better confidence building measure would be an exchange program of students. If you had exchange students from 5 different grades, 20 kids per grade, from each side, that would be a much better confidence building measure.

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