Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he opposes negotiating with Syria because the Islamic nation is the main operator of terror in the region.
The prime minister said that the conflict with the Palestinians is more urgent and he sees a greater need to focus on that.
Olmert’s comments came in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s statements that Syria is interested in peace with Israel, not in her annihilation. The Syrian foreign minister said that the end of the war in Lebanon presented the opportunity to revive the peace process.
Israeli officials said that Syria should first prove it is a peace partner and cease supporting terror before Israel opens talks with the nation.
Security Minister Amir Peretz said that the State of Israel is prepared for any scenario or any threat, and will be ready to respond to any Syrian provocation.
“The belligerent declarations of the Syrian president do not fit in with his talks of peace,” Peretz said. “If the Syrian President has sincere intentions, then he can prove this by veritable actions such as halting support for (Palestinian Prime Minister) Khaled Mashaal and stop supplying weapons to Hizballah. The State of Israel strives for peace with all its neighbors as soon as the appropriate conditions are in place.”