There is no pressure placed upon Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights

Unlike with the Palestinian issue, and settlement activity and withdrawal from the West Bank, no pressure is being placed upon Israel to withdraw from the Golan. Inside Israel, Israelis are saying “If America isn’t pressing us to withdraw, why should we initiate such a move?”

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Syrian counter-arguments to above objection


Syria is a central player in the region. It has influence in Iraq, Lebanon and among Palestinians, as well as very close relations to Iran and Turkey. As the US is pursuing its policy goals with all of the above actors, collaboration with Syria becomes very valuable.

Since the Golan issue is a central objective of Syria's policy, it is clear that the Obama administration and other interested parties will be pressuring Israel on this issue to facilitate collaboration with Syria, as it becomes clear that they not be able to succeed anywhere in the Middle East without taking into account Syria’s legitimate concerns. Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights will sooner or later become more difficult to justify.

Syria will expect US assistance in restarting peace talks with Israel in return for helping the United States maintain stability in the Middle East. US Arab allies also need Syria’s assistance badly. They've already started to back Syria’s position and will be expected to place more pressure on the US administration to focus its attention on the Syrian-Israeli peace track.

Finally, Europe is increasingly realizing the central and often unique role Syria plays in the Middle East. While the economy is the main driver for Syrian-European collaboration, support for the return of Golan Heights will be a natural extension of this collaboration.

After Syria successfully navigated through the exceptionally difficult years of the Bush administration, the United States, Europe and America’s Arab allies are all moving closer to Syria. There will be much less demonizing and much more understanding and sometimes appreciation of Syria’s strategies, objectives, and actions.

Syria will tell each of its many visitors that while it values economic cooperation, the Golan is paramount.  Israel will be pressured again just as it was  pressured during the Carter, Bush Sr., and Clinton administrations.

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