Netanyahu Denies Agreeing to Golan Withdrawal

News Report Says Pull-Out Was Part of Failed '10 Deal

By Reuters

Published October 12, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied a newspaper report on Friday that said he had agreed in principle to hand back land annexed from Syria as part of secret U.S.-mediated peace talks that broke off last year.

Syria has long set a complete withdrawal from the Golan Heights as a condition for making peace with the Jewish state. Israel captured the strategic plateau in a 1967 war, then annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally.

Israeli leaders had consented to at least partial Golan pullbacks in past talks with Syria, though none had gone as far as Netanyahu in agreeing to withdraw to the northeastern shores of the biblical Sea of Galilee, the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth daily said.

The newspaper quoted unspecified American documents as saying Netanyahu had expressed such a readiness, surprising U.S. diplomats during indirect contacts they mediated with Syria two years ago.

These contacts broke off early in 2011 as unrest spread across the Arab world, eventually sparking a full-blown revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Netanyahu’s office said the suggested withdrawal had been a U.S. initiative that Israel had never accepted and dismissed the report as “politically-motivated”, citing the fact that it was published just days after the right-wing leader announced he would move up national elections to early next year.

“This was one initiative among many proposed to Israel in recent years. At no stage did Israel accept this American initiative. It is an old and irrelevant initiative,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

The last formal Israeli-Syrian peace talks, sponsored by Washington, broke off more than 10 years ago and repeated efforts to revive them through contacts and indirect meetings them have failed to yield any breakthroughs.

The main sticking points have been Israel’s demand for Syria to fully normalise ties in exchange for any withdrawal and cool its ties with Islamist Iran.

Israel has also balked at Syria’s insistence on a complete pullout from the strategically important Golan territory which overlooks both southern Syria and northern Israel.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.