An Israeli Minister says his country is ready to start negotiating with Syria.
Syria has repeatedly offered talks with Israel over the past seven years, but Israel has ignored every call.
When US Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Damascus and announced that Israel and Syria were ready to start peace talks, she was rebuked by Israel. Now, it seems, things have changed.
Israel’s Minister for Immigration and Absorption Ze’ev Boim said that Israel is ready to start talks, and it seems he has dropped Israel’s preconditions that Syria end support for what it calls terrorism (Hamas and Hizbollah). Instead, Boim only says that it would be useful if Syria didn’t support Hizbollah: “In order to ensure a positive outcome of the talks with Israel, President Bashar al-Assad should stop arming Hezbollah, close HAMAS and Islamic Jihad headquarters in Damascus”.
It is not clear whether his statement was a slip of the tongue, or whether he actually represents Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s views. Last year, Israel’s Defence Minister and Foreign Minister publicly called for talks with Syria – Olmert said no.