ArmyVern: I agree from a Military perspective Syria and Egypt had lost the 1973 war. Israel pretty much "conquered" the lands they currently control. I'm aware of the 35km to Damascus. In fact, when the news reached Damascus that the Israelis were about to invade the capital, all ministers, merchants and "loyalist" families packed their belongings and travelled North to Aleppo. Damascus was pretty much empty from any resistance when the Israelis stopped at 35km mark (so much for the defenders of the realm)
However, trace this back abit to 1967, Israel wages a war against Egypt and Syria , occupying the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and Golan Heights from Syria, Eastern Jerusalem from Jordanian, Gaza/West Bank from Arab Forces.
The UN resolution 242 does not call for the return of the land Israel had acquired by defeating the Arab leagues in 1948. But it does recall for Israel to return the land it "conquered" in the 1967 war. While you could argue that because Syria/Egypt attacked the Israelis in 1973 they've lost that claim for return of the land through the UN resolution. Yet, we can also argue that because Syria/Egypt initiated the 1973 war because they felt the Israelis had no intention of returning the land they've acquired through 1967 war (e.g. the strong fortification of Sinai Peninsula).
The question here remain on the political front, does Israel and the Arabs want to return back to the initial UN resolution in this matter ? Will the Syrians agree to have an Israeli state next to its borders. Will the Israelis agree to return back the land they've acquired through a war they've started in exchange for peace and security the same way they have with the Egyptians ?
One issue keeps playing a major problem in the Arab-Israeli peace process is who is in control of what? It is not just a matter of land, but much more:
- Settlements built inside the 1967 occupied lands Will they be evacuated ? Will the settlers agree to live under the Syrian or Palestinian control as long as fair policies are ensured ? What if a Palestinian/Syrian claims a settler house was built on his land ?
- Waters and rivers in these lands, water is a major issue in the ME
- The fair return of the Palestinians refugees to their homes, how and who can they claim these homes?
- The security for Israel and its borders
- The sovereignty of all nations including fair access to their borders, sea ports and air space.
Will Israel give up all the advantages it has right now for a lasting peace with Syria ? Will the Syrians agree to these terms in exchange of full cooperation with the Israelis ?
I know one thing, when Jordanian, Palestinians, Syrian and Lebanese went to Oslo . The Syrians asked all Arab parties to stay united and no agreement be made unless all issues are resolved at once. However, the Jordanian and Palestinians felt they can get a "better deal" if they negotiate with Israel alone. This have definitely not worked well for either. Jordan hasn't resolved its Palestinian refugee problem, and the Palestinians.....well, lets leave it there.
I strongly believe the ME issue can only resolved by all parties sitting and hammering all points. All parties must make concessions if they wish to live in lasting peace together and must acknowledge the right for each to exist as an independent and sovereign nation.
paracowboy: You know, I find myself sometimes pondering the same thing. Are the Arab rulers and Muslim clerics using the Palestinian issue to manipulate the people in the same way Israelis are using the same issue to manipulate the West ?
I agree, Syrian regime is focused on maintaining their grip on Power. Is that why the Syrian government is not making peace with Israel ?
I've said in a previous post somewhere else, if peace is made between the Arabs and Israel, there would be no reason for the Arab citizens not to rise against their oppressing government. I sometimes wonder, are the Arab rulers smarter than we've estimated ? Did they find the weak spot of all Arabs and Muslims ??
The Palestinian refugee camps are jokes. What the Arabs have provided to the Palestinians is nothing compared to what the West have provided the Palestinians. Yet, the Arab rulers emerge as the saviors of the Palestinians!
Are the Arab rulers a curse on the ME ? Well, they could be. But I know alot of people who also blame the West for that curse. They say if it wasn't for British and French interference from the 20s-40s and until nowdays, we most likely wouldn't have had these military regimes controlling the Arab lives.
Who brought the Saud house to power ? Britain..
Who brought the turbulence to Damascus ? France..
Who divided Lebanon from Syria and gave the Turks the Askandaron ? France..
Who created the current middle east border ? Britain & France
This is where pan-Arabisim/Baathisim comes into play. Their concept is: since Britain & France put the borders between the Arabs, then they must be trying to divide the Arabs (which in some ways true).
My last comments....I remember the days of Saladin. He fought against the crusaders, and the crusaders fought against him. However, nobody was winning but blood was being shed in the name of religion. At the end, Saladin signed a peace treaty with King Richard of England in Ramala, 1192. In which Jerusalem remains in the hands of Muslims and stay open for Christian pilgrims. A year later, Saladin died of mysterious illness! Unfortunately, many know his courage, but few know his philosophy and nobility.
Can the Arabs and Israelis make a noble peace like that ? Can the Syrian government sit down with the Israeli and hammer their differences?