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» 04/23/2008
Lively reactions in Jerusalem about reports that a Golan Heights-Peace deal is in the works
A Syrian news agency releases report today about Olmert’s offer. In the Knesset some lawmakers want a referendum to decide the issue fearful that the loss of the Heights “will pump Hezbollah forces into region.”

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – “Independent” Syrian news agency Cham-Press has reported that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has offered to exchange the Golan Heights for peace and this is raising a hornet’s nest in Israel.

According to the Syrian source, the message was passed on through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is mediating between the two historical rivals.

Olmert’s office responded to the news report only by stating that “Assad is familiar with Israel's position regarding peace talks and visa versa," implicitly confirming it.

For some there were rumours about secret negotiations between the two countries. Assad wants back the strategic but also water-rich Heights lost in the 1967 war.

In Israel news about Olmert’s offer has led to lively reactions.

MK David Tal, head of the Knesset House Committee, said he intends to accelerate the passage of a bill subjecting any withdrawal from the Golan to a national referendum

“Evacuating the Golan Heights will pump Hezbollah forces into region,” Tal said.

Former Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) and MK Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party both expressed concern about the impact of withdrawal on the country’s security.

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See also
08/06/2008 SYRIA - TURKEY
Peace with Israel, Iranian nuclear program addressed in meeting between Assad and Erdogan
07/01/2008 ISRAEL – SYRIA
New round of indirect talks today between Israel and Syria
05/31/2013 SYRIA-ISRAEL
Assad threatens Israel over future air raids and attacks on Golan Heights
04/24/2008 ISRAEL - SYRIA
Assad confirms Israeli proposal: peace in exchange for the Golan Heights
09/02/2008 MIDDLE EAST
In Damascus, surprise four-party summit on Middle East

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