DAVID MCREYNOLDS – We should be reminded, in looking at anything involving Netanyahu, that we are not dealing with an “ordinary” head of state, but with a man of the far right. His late father was an open racist whose comments about the Palestinians are fully the equal of the Nazi views of the Jews, and was a follower of the Jabotinsky movement – the extreme right of the Zionist movement (Jabotinsky worked with Mussolini before WW II). The Israeli Prime Minister is truly his father’s son.
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ALON BEN-MEIR – Despite efforts to internationally isolate Syria, especially during the Bush era, Syria has reasserted itself as a central player in the Middle East. Following the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, the United States withdrew its ambassador to Beirut, intensified sanctions against Damascus and sought to deepen Syria’s isolation from the international community. The recent array of high-level visitors to Damascus-including United States officials-demonstrates that President Bashar al-Assad has weathered the storm of isolation and has emerged as an essential actor in resolving regional disputes, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel should now respond favorably to Damascus’ call for renewed peace talks, and in so doing utilize Syria’s influence to advance peace, rather than thwart it.
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