'Gov't can't consider Golan demand'

Opposition MKs say Olmert's lame-duck government has no authority to make peace deal with Syria.

Lieberman makes point 224 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Lieberman makes point 224 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Opposition MKs responded angrily on Tuesday to reports that Syria has drafted a document defining the boundaries of the Golan Heights it expects as part of a peace treaty, saying the Olmert government has no authority to strike a deal with Damascus. Reuters reported that Syria was waiting for Israel to reply to the document through Turkish mediators, and quoted Syrian sources as saying that the boundaries detailed in the document refer to six geographical locations. The Syrian demands include a part of Lake Kinneret's northeast shoreline that is within Israel's international border but was seized by Syria during the 1950s. "According to Syrian thinking, Israeli agreement on the six [geographical] points could help seal a peace deal next year," said one source. "But Israel may not be able to provide a response any time soon, while it is in such political turmoil." Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman suggested sarcastically that if Syrian President Bashar Assad wanted new borders with Israel "in the framework of a peace settlement, he should consider passing the Syrian Hermon to Israeli sovereignty." Israel Beiteinu supports "speaking to the Syrians on the basis of 'peace-for-peace.' There's no reason to give up the Golan Heights," a party spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Both right-wing and left-wing politicians criticized the legitimacy of the Olmert government even discussing the details of a peace agreement with Syria. Likud MK Silvan Shalom said the government had no mandate to discuss the state's borders. "The current government is doing everything in its power to tie the hands of the next government, which will be elected in February, and its actions will cause severe harm to national security. We shouldn't cooperate with these attempts," Shalom said. Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On said she agreed the Olmert government lacked of a mandate to negotiate with Syria. "Assad's suggestion requires serious examination by the next elected government, which will have to negotiate the obvious price of peace for the Golan Heights. But this government has no mandate at all to promote diplomatic moves," Gal-On said. Deputy Foreign Minister Majallie Whbee (Kadima) suggested that Assad declare what his country would give for the Golan Heights. "Assad should say what he is willing to give away before he presents a list of demands. To start with, Assad needs to cut Syria's ties to Iran," he said. Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim (Kadima) said in response to the Syrian demand for sovereignty over parts of the Sea of Galilee: "Before discussing geographical conditions and drawing new borders, it would be appropriate for Assad to carry out a few necessary actions, such as condemning terrorism and eliminating the terrorist nests that operate in Syria." Haviv Rettig Gur contributed to this report.