Mofaz: Land-for-peace will put Iran in Golan

Transportation minister says Syria is central to "radical axis," Hizbullah has emptied UN Resolution 1701 of its substance.

Mofaz 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Mofaz 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Giving Syria the Golan Heights will mean bringing Iran there as well, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said overnight Monday after meeting in Washington with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Mofaz was visiting the US as part of Israel-US Strategic Dialogue. "You must have heard recent statements on the process with the Syrians," Mofaz told reporters, referring to unconfirmed reports that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently sent messages to Damascus indicating Israel was willing to give up the Golan Heights in return for a peace treaty. "I can only say one thing about that: Due to the fact that there is a strengthening of the radical axis, and Syria is a very central and dominant component of the radical axis, any handover of the Golan Heights to them means Iranians in the Golan Heights." "We must take this under consideration, not as a statement that creates headlines, but as an issue that will become very tangible and real," he added. "Just as today the Iranians have a foothold in southern Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip, they will have one in the Golan Heights." "This doesn't mean we shouldn't make peace with the Syrians in the future, it doesn't mean we shouldn't talk to the Syrians, but in this reality the Golan Heights is a strategic asset for Israel and handing it over to the Syrians is tantamount to handing it to the Iranians." On the subject of Lebanon, Mofaz said Hizbullah had emptied UN Resolution 1701 of its substance by gaining complete control in southern Lebanon and doubling its arsenal of long-range rockets. The group "is preparing itself for the next campaign," he said.