Olmert ready to surrender Golan, says source

Monday, November 03, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

A diplomatic source in Jerusalem told Ha'aretz on Saturday that lame-duck Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is preparing to guarantee the full surrender of the Golan Heights in exchange for direct talks with Syria's leadership.

The source said that Damascus wants Olmert to recommit to the so-called "Rabin Deposit" - former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's reported commitment to a full withdrawal from the Golan in return for firm security guarantees from Syria.

Olmert's office later denied the report, insisting that while the outgoing leader intends to renew indirect negotiations with Syria, he has made no commitments or promises to the other side.

Analysts believe Olmert is determined to score a diplomatic victory before early national elections scheduled for February, and that with the Palestinian track frozen for now, he sees Syria as his best option.

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