MK Naffa during Druze rally
Photo: Ofer Amram

MK Naffa claims political persecution over Syria visits

Balad MK says talks with Syria prove continuing police investigations of his visits to Damascus are politically motivated, adds probes will not hinder his future visits to Syria

"The publications confirming Israel has been secretly negotiating with Syria prove the legal measures taken against me are nothing more than political persecution," Knesset Member Said Naffa (Balad) told Ynet Thursday.


Naffa has been questioned by the police several times in the past few months, in connection with several reported trips he made to Damascus.


Israelis are forbidden from visiting Syria, which is considered and enemy state; Naffa, a Druze Knesset Member, had been questioned on suspicions of visiting an enemy state and contacting foreign agents.


The MK has repeatedly claimed that his interrogations were politically motivated and that they would not deter him from visiting Syria in the future.


'Swiss-sponsored dialogue'

As for the peace talks, Naffa said that "as someone familiar with Syrian mentality I believe they truly want peace. The Israeli people however, are not yet ready to make any historic decisions." The Syrians' choice of peace, he added, is a strategic one.


Naffa further claimed that several months after he returned form Damascus, he was contacted by former Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Liel, who heads a group trying to push Israeli talks with Syria.


Liel, he said, told him the "Israel has been conducting Swiss-sponsored dialogue with Syria for several months with a senior general representing Damascus and that former Shin Bet Chief Yaakov Peri was involved."


Both sides, according to Naffa, had been able to agree on several key points, including "ceding the area between the Kinneret's (Sea of Galilee) north-east side to Mount Hermon, and turning it into a national park to which Israelis will have free access, with no need for visas.


"They also agreed that any of the Golan Heights' residents who will leave their homes will be allowed to keep running their local business, including any farmlands and factories," he said.


Naffa reiterated that as far as he was aware, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was kept abreast of the talks and their details.


פרסום ראשון: 05.22.08, 14:29
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