Outgoing Israeli army chief Lieutenant-General Moshe Ya'alon broke a taboo, saying Israel could defend its northern border even if it returns the strategic Golan Heights to Syria. Since Israel captured the plateau in the 1967 war, military planners have said that Israel needs the strategic high ground to defend the country from a Syrian invasion. But Ya'alon told the London-based Arabic language newspaper “Al-Sharq al-Awsat” that Israel could give up the territory as part of a peace agreement with a “serious Syrian leadership.” Peace talks between Israel and Syria broke down five years ago, when the late Syrian President Hafez Assad demanded a foothold on the Sea of Galilee.
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