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Israeli and Syrian Presidents shake hands

April 9th, 2005 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

An unprecedented handshake has taken place between Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad and Israel’s President Moshe Katsav at the funeral for Pope John Paul II.

They shook hands as the funeral began, and Bashar approached Katsav again after the funeral to exchange words and shake again.

Such public communication has never happened before, bwteen the two countries which are still at war.
On many occasions over the past two years Bashar has offered peace talks with Israel, which have been flatly rejected by Ariel Sharon and George Bush. But Katsav, who was born in Iran, has always urged Sharon to keep an open mind.

There is speculation that the brief meeting may open the path to negotiations, which last collapsed five years ago.

It seems that even in death the Pope is brining cultures together. John Paul II was the first Pope to ever enter a Mosque – he visited the Umayad Mosque in the heart of Damascus’s Old City on the 2000th birthday of Jesus. The Mosque has a shrine to John the Baptist.


6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 End racism // Apr 10, 2005 at 2.23 am

    Alright, so the “Israelis” claim that Katsav also shook hands with Khatami. Khatami denies it. So far there are no pics to prove that there indeed was a handshake. Katsav claims he initiated the handshake. Perhaps it’s simply a publicity stunt intended to make “Israel” look good and as the one that always takes the initiative? I don’t know, I guess speaking from experience… I could be wrong though.

  • 2 Anonymous // Apr 10, 2005 at 3.19 am

    So they shook hands…..who cares!!!! Let them sit together already so that we know whether Israel is willing to give pull out of the Golan!
    Lattakia Boy

  • 3 End racism // Apr 10, 2005 at 6.22 am

    Indeed, Lattakia Boy. “Israel” has proven time and again that it does not care about negotiations. Moreover, it has proven that it only understands the language of violence, as shown in Lebanon, and after the eruption of the Intifada in Gaza & West Bank.

  • 4 annie // Apr 10, 2005 at 7.03 am

    I choose to be optimistic and see an opening in the gesture even if Katsav did not give it any political importance .
    Yet, the killings continue: kids playing soccer of all things.

  • 5 sasa // Apr 10, 2005 at 7.35 pm

    Bashar’s spokesman has confirmed that they did greet eachother and shake hands.

    Yes it is a tiny gesture, but Katsav has always been on the ‘moderate’ side of Sharon. The bad news is that in Israel he’s little more than a figurehead.

  • 6 End racism // Apr 11, 2005 at 1.57 am

    Yeah, but I’m talking about Khatami, “Israel’s” arch-enemy. This and this are the only pictures that come close to the so-called “handshake”. I doubt that Khatami would deny it if such a thing indeed took place, as he would lose much credibility for lying if the cameras proved him wrong. As for his “Israeli” counterpart, well, “Israelis” never lose credibility no matter how much they lie, or so it seems!

    In contrast, this pic shows that Khatami and Assad greeted each other. Now I wonder why we have no pics of the Khatami-Katsav greeting/handshake…. Perhaps because there indeed was none?

    Also, about the handshake, I have an entry about that. Well, just excerpts from an article from an Arab daily based in the UK (translation available too)… A very well-written opinion piece. Very, very eloquent. Certainly expresses my feelings on the whole handshake issue.

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