Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz met with residents of the Golan Heights on Sunday. Those in attendance reported that both Yishai and Mofaz expressed their opposition against any concessions to Syria on the issue of the Golan. Mofaz was quoted saying that "transferring the Golan to Syria at this juncture would effectively constitute giving it to Iran," and that he was against the possibility of making concessions at the beginning of talks. The former general also suggested "creative solutions" such as a long-term lease of the land in order to ensure the safety of those who currently reside there. Yishai assured the residents that Shas would support them in preventing any possible evacuation plan from the Golan. He further stressed that Syria is an essential part of the "axis of evil" and that Israel must not abandon its security when confronted by Syria and Hizbullah. During the weekly cabinet meeting earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Olmert said that, "ever since the announcement was made, there has been much speculation" and that he wished to make known that he has "no plans of conducting negotiations via the media or with slogans, but rather by using the requisite caution and responsibility" necessary for such a task.