The National Security Cabinet is expected to convene Wednesday to receive updates from defense establishment officials on the latest developments in Syria and Lebanon, but sources in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said a decision on whether to resume peace talks with Damascus is not expected.
Over the past few weeks Israel has secretly examined Syria’s willingness to reach a peace agreement, but officials in Jerusalem have stressed that Damascus still backs Palestinian and Iranian-sponsored terror via direct and indirect aid to Hamas and Hizbullah.
In the past, it was claimed that the United States vetoed Israel’s return to the negotiating table due in part to Syria’s support of anti-American terror in Iraq and the fact that the country is considered by the Bush Administration to be part of the “axis of evil,” which begins in Iran and passes through Syria to Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.
Recent reports said Syria is continuing to acquire primarily defensive weapons for fear Israel may launch an attack on Damascus or Lebanon in the summer.
In response, Olmert relayed a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad saying Israel does not plan on launching any such offensive.
The prime minister has yet to be convinced that Assad’s recent peace overtures are sincere and has therefore asked to examine the matter further through covert channels.