The Syrian leadership on Wednesday of pushing the region toward full-scale war, and threatened to devastate Israel's cities if it dares to use military force against terrorist threats such as Lebanon's Hizballah.
In a meeting with visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, Syrian President Bashar Assad said, "All the facts point that Israel is driving the region toward war, not peace. Israel is not serious about wanting peace."
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem added at a press conference following the meeting that Israel knows "that war at this time will reach your cities. If such a war breaks out ... it will indeed be total war, whether it begins in south Lebanon or Syria."
Late last month, a pan-Arab newspaper reported that Syria and Hizballah were mobilizing their forces for war with Israel, while telling the rest of the Arab world that the Jewish state was about to attack.
Meanwhile, Israel's defense establishment is actually pushing for a renewal of peace talks with Syria, even if Damascus continues to push hardline preconditions.
Addressing senior Israeli army officers on Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that if peace talks didn't resume soon, war could break out. In the aftermath of such a conflict, the peace talks will be about the same things they are today, insisted Barak, questioning the need for war and hostile rhetoric.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained cool to the idea of restarting talks at this time, noting that Syria continues to place obstacle by demanding preconditions, like a guaranteed full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.