Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday passed a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad via French President Nicolas Sarkozy urging an immediate resumption of peace talks between the two Middle East nations.
Arabic news network al-Arabiya cited "knowledgeable sources" as saying that during their meeting in Paris, Netanyahu told Sarkozy he is prepared to withdraw from the Golan Heights for the sake of a peace deal with Syria. According to the report, Netanyahu asked Sarkozy to passed that message on when he met with Assad on Friday.
Netanyahu's office immediately responded by admitting that a message had been transmitted to Assad via Sarkozy, but firmly rejecting that the Israeli leader had offered to surrender the Golan. The Prime Minister's Office refused to release further details regarding the peace overture.
A day before traveling to Paris himself, Assad claimed that he, too, is ready to restart negotiations with Israel without preconditions, though in the past the Syrian leader has refused direct talks with Israel without a prior commitment to meet Syrian territorial demands.
Assad also revealed that even if he enters talks with Israel, they will be accompanied by continued support for terrorist violence against Israel.
"The essence of peace is not just negotiations but rather, resistance as well," Assad was quoted as saying by official Syrian media.
Meanwhile, Arab affairs expert Prof. Moshe Sharon warned in an interview with Arutz 7 Radio that all the Syrians want is to take Israel's water.
"The Syrians want us to sign a peace agreement with them so that they can draw Sea of Galilee water from us," said Sharon. "They don’t want peace; they want water."