Peres: Assad should come to Israel

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 |  by Staff Writer  

Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said Wednesday morning in an interview that Syrian President Bashar Assad should come to Jerusalem if he is truly serious about peace talks with Israel.

Peres said these words in an interview with Israeli radio in reaction to an interview given by Assad to the BBC on Monday saying that he was ready to start negotiating, but claimed the Israeli government is not strong enough to do so.

Peres suggested that Assad come to Israel and address the Knesset, adding that "if Assad said 'I am coming to the Knesset' would anyone stop him?"

In his words, Peres is referring to the historical and unexpected visit made by Egyptian President Anwar Saadat in November 1977 to Jerusalem, which officially kick started the peace talks with Egypt, which led to the Camp David Peace Accords between the countries in 1978.

Since the end of the recent war in Lebanon, both Israel and Syria have been back-and-forth on the issue of the possibility of restarting peace talks between the two countries. Syria is claiming the Golan Heights which were annexed to Israel after the Six Day War, and Israel is demanding that Syria stop supporting and funding Hizballah in Lebanon, as well as Palestinian terror groups in the West Bank and Gaza as a condition for negotiations.

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