Sa'ar: 'Syria dialogue endangers future deal'

Likud MK Gideon Sa'ar tells 'Post' Israeli attempts to wean Damascus from ties to Iran are "absurd."

gideon saar 248.88 (photo credit: Ori Porat [file])
gideon saar 248.88
(photo credit: Ori Porat [file])
Syrian President Bashar Assad's trip to Moscow last week was a deliberate affront against the West, according to Likud faction chairman MK Gideon Sa'ar. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post at the weekend, Sa'ar blasted Israel's current attempts at negotiations with Damascus as creating serious obstacles for future peace deals. "The negotiations carried out by this government have caused serious damage to Israel's status," Sa'ar said. "The Syrian government got red carpets in Paris, and received international legitimacy without their stances changing by a centimeter. Last month, Assad visited Teheran after Paris, to emphasize that he is still loyal to them [the Iranians]. And he traveled to Russia in the face of the entire Western world." Sa'ar described attempts to wean Damascus from its ties to the Islamic Republic as "absurd." "The West has worked for years to bring Syria to normalization and their attempts haven't worked. The thought that what the entire world couldn't do, we can do by giving them the Golan Height is naïve," he said. Things were no better on the Palestinian front, Sa'ar said. "The insane offers made by Olmert in his attempts to reach a final-status agreement will make it much harder for us to carry out future negotiations after so much has already been put on the table," he said, warning that just as in the case of Syria, the real danger behind failure to advance Israel's interests in the West Bank lied not across the Green Line, but hundreds of kilometers away in Teheran. "The right way to look at the reality in the region is through the Iranian lens. Iran is challenging the dominance of United States in the region. Teheran has flooded Israel with its emissaries - in the north with Hizbullah and in the south, following disengagement, with Hamas in Gaza. Now the new danger is in the West Bank and the Golan Heights - and that is what negotiations under the current conditions could produce." The solution, he argues, is not to continue with negotiations, but rather to wait until Iran has been weakened - possibly one of the "difficult security decisions" that Sa'ar said are likely to be made by Israel next spring. Those decisions, he warned, would demand a broad mandate and legitimacy that the current government would be unable to deliver. Only the election of a Likud government in spring elections, Sa'ar said, would pave the way for a unity government that could make such decisions. "A unity government must be created after the election. I hope that we will be able to establish one, because the security situation demands it. Such a government would include our partners in the national camp but with at least one party from the other side. Right now there are two candidates - Kadima and Labor. The security challenges are such that we will have to do so while still staying to our [ideological] path. But we must widen the base of legitimacy because there will be very serious decisions and thus there must be a strong, broad-based government, but also a government with a clear direction."