Ibrahim (Abe) Soliman, an American citizen of Syrian descent, landed in Jerusalem Tuesday, via a non-governmental movement for peace between Israel and Syria. Suleiman will hold informal talks with former Israel Foreign Ministry director-general Dr. Alon Liel, in an attempt to reach a breakthrough in Israeli-Syrian relations.
The movement was originally endorsed by Turkey, and later, by Switzeland, as well.
"This is a very exciting visit," Liel told Ynet. "He has been here in the past, but never openly and publicly. He's certainly not accustomed to such visits. He's, by nature, a man of covert diplomacy."
"What we need to do now is let the Israeli public hear him, and collect information and see if the change in Syria that he alludes to is really taking place. The Israeli public needs to be the judge," he said.
Dr. Liel said that Soliman has proven himself to have close associates within the Syrian leadership and thus, he is qualified to report on the mood in Damascus, regarding Israel.
"In the past three years, we spoke to him, and double-checked our information with the Turkish and Swiss sources," Liel explained.
During his trip to Israel, Soliman, along with Dr. Liel, will brief the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee on informal Israeli-Syrian talks and the current situation between the two nations. The briefing is scheduled for Thursday and is to be followed by a press conference.
He will meet with the Turkish ambassador to Israel, as well as members of the Economic Cooperation Foundation – an organization that promotes regional peace through economic collaboration.
He is also expected to visit Yad Vashem. Soliman told his hosts that he is very much looking forward to visiting the memorial, and speaking to the Knesset.