Official: No reason in world for dialogue with Syria
Senior source at Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem explains, 'Conditions for opening dialogue with Damascus are clear, and they are not even doing the minimum'; adds, 'There is not one person who believes a dialogue will remove Syria from axis of evil'
"Unfortunately, the Syrians are not even implementing the minimal steps they could implement. In such a situation, there is no reason in the world for Israel to hold a dialogue or negotiations with the Syrians, and certainly not against the position of (US President) George Bush, Israel's greatest friend."
It was also reported that the Syrians claim they could control Hamas, but not Hizbullah.
The senior source in the Prime Minister's Office said in response to the report, "We are not familiar with this document. No such document has been received by the Prime Minister's Office or brought to its knowledge."
The source refused to define the preconditions for negotiations with the Syrians, and said he has not intentions of doing it through the media.
"The terms are well known in Damascus. They are not doing anything about it. On the contrary. According to the information we have, orders are being issued from Syria which are making it impossible to establish a Palestinian unity government which will allow a truce in the territories.
"Weapons are being smuggled through Syria to Hizbullah. Moreover, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert does not have one advisor who estimates that such a dialogue will remove Syria from the axis of evil and will disconnect its ties with Tehran. All this is overpowered by a additional fear that if Israel and Syria fail in such negotiations the chances for war will grow," he said.
If there are moves, we'll examine proposals
Official at the Prime Minister's Office made it clear that Olmert's remarks at the cabinet meeting about standing by President Bush's decision not to hold talks with the Syrians still stand.
The Syrians, according to both Bush and Olmert, are seeking to clean themselves of the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The Syrians are connected to terror elements in Iraq, which are operating against the US army and its allies. The Syrians are also connected to Tehran.
"In such a situation, the Israeli prime minister stands by the United States and its demands that Syria renounces terror and disconnect from the axis of evil. Only then, if indeed it is proven that such steps were taken, even initial steps, Assad's proposals will be deeply examined," the source who spoke to Ynet clarified.
Prime Minister Olmert said during the cabinet meeting that "the question that should be asked is why Assad made these declarations after the Baker report was published in Washington, after President Bush made a strong statement on the matter, and when the entire international community demands that the Syrians stop their war mongering and acts against the Siniora government in Lebanon. Is this true, when the entire international community demands that Khaled Mashaal be pressured in Syria?"
At the cabinet meeting, Olmert asked whether now was a good time for Israel to express views that go against those of the American president, while Bush is engaged in hard internal-political battles, as well as wars in Iraq and other places.
Olmert also reminded the ministers that the US was Israel's most important ally, and that the state has a strategic relationship with it.