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» 04/23/2008
SYRIA – ISRAEL
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

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope remembers and prays for "latest tragedy" of migrants, "our brothers and sisters" who "are seeking happiness"At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis says he is praying for the hundreds of victims in a sinking off the coast of Libya. An appeal to the international community to "act decisively and promptly." "Every baptized person is called to witness in word and deed, that Jesus is risen, He is alive and present in our midst." The Christian message "is not a theory, an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions, or moralism, but a message of salvation, a concrete event, even a person: the Risen Christ, the living and only Savior of all" . The Pope will be in Turin on June 21 to honor the Shroud, the exposition of which begins today.
SAUDI ARABIA – YEMEN
Saudi war in Yemen masks widening domestic tensions
by Afshin ShahiSaudi Arabia is using the conflict in Yemen to control domestic problems, especially social inequalities and religious sectarianism. However, whilst the royal family flaunts its wealth, some 20 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Many disgruntled young Saudis end up becoming "foreign fighters" for the Islamic state (IS). Some 15 per cent of the Saudi population is Shia, under the heavy thumb of the Sunni-dominated state. Afshin Shahi, director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam and lecturer in International Relations and Middle East Politics at University of Bradford, provides the following lucid analysis.
VATICAN
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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