The USA Sponsorship

In his speech delivered in front of Madrid Peace Conference on 30 October 1991, USA Ex-President George Bush, specified the American role in the process of settling the Arab-Zionist Conflict, by saying, "We are endeavoring for a stable continuous settlement all over the Middle East ( ... ). I, with James Baker, the Secretary of State, will assume an active role to help succeed such process. Based on such objective, we have given written confirmations to Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine; motivated by the spirit of frankness and honesty; we will let any side know the assurances presented, by us, to the other (... ) The USA is ready to facilitate the search for peace and to be, as ever, an assisting element. We are seeking only one thing, not for ourselves but for the peoples of the region".

It is on this background that Washington played a host for the bilateral negotiations along all tracks, including the Syrian-Israeli one. Each of James Baker and Warren Christopher, the Ex- and current USA Secretary of State, made shuttle trips in the Middle East, and summit meetings held between President Bill Clinton and the Leaders of the States of the Region, among whom is President Hafez Al-Assad who met President Clinton twice, once in Geneva and the other in Damascus in 1994. In one of his tours in the area, Warren Christopher, the USA Secretary of State, presented the bases of a bargain, provided by Israelis to him, known as "Rabin’s Deposit" for withdrawal from the Golan, peace relations, security arrangements and its time schedule. It includes an Israeli commitment of withdrawal from the Golan, complete peace relations with ambassadors, open borders, economical relations, implementation of withdrawal on stages within years, nationalization of relations, establishing diplomatic relations between Syria and Israel after the first stage while the Israeli army still holding a great part of the Golan, discussion of the future of the Golan water, security arrangements covering disarmament zones, reducing the armed forces, establishing of warning stations and deploying international forces to supervise the implementation of the settlement. The American diplomacy took two directions, the first is to continue its role as a communication channel and the other is to deepen the American role in an attempt to realize an external gain that supports the position of the American Administration on credibility the internal level. The elements of the American scenario to push the Syrian-Israeli track forward are a complete withdrawal, which has three envisages basic collateral integrated pillars; settlement, security arrangements and international guarantees. This means that America is endeavoring to play the role of a mediator to the extent that does not ignore Israel's security while integrating Israel in the Region. By the role of an impartial mediator, the Americans furthermore hope that the American

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Peace Negotiations and Divergent Views

There were two main differences between the two sides. First, the period of transfer. The Israelis wanted a 5 year period of transfer, where as the Syrian want it done in a month only. The second, the final line of withdrawal should go back to the pre - 1967 boundaries. Where as the Israelis wanted to withdraw to the British Mandate Boundaries, thus leaving two Syrian areas still under its occupation: Banias, facing the Dan settlement in the north, and Al-Hima in the south. Syrian asserted, from the start of the negotiations, that it will only agree to a complete bargain. For Syrian was convinced that there was no need to rush toward the Israelis. Syrian also asserted the need to unify the Arab negotiating track, and to show no ease towards implementing resolutions 242-338-425 as the bases of the terms of legal reference and a guarantee for the Arab rights. The Syrian track therefore had witnessed a diversity of the negotiations levels of representation, methodology and frameworks.

Although the outcome indicated that nothing had been achieved, yet the negotiation round held in Washington on 22 February 1994 had effectively witnessed a raise in the level of representation manifested by the meeting of the two Chiefs-of-Staffs ( Hikmat Al-Shihabi of Syria and Iyhud Barak of Israel). On the one hand, and its coming in the aftermath of a cessation of the bilateral negotiations on the other. It furthermore surpassed dividing principles from details. It proceeded on a parallel line into the security arrangements and the time schedule of withdrawal and naturalization. This meant that the real development along this track lay in letting behind the difference on the concepts and to set the priorities. Although the events reflected the surpassing of such stage, but the formula parts indicated the difference on the balancing points as evidenced through the series of the exchanged statements which eventually pushed this track far behind such stability. Syria had defined the concept of peace which was represented, as a unique alternative, by the Golan restoration and practicing its sovereignty thereon. Syria saw that the withdrawal arrangements as proposed by Israel did not meet the least of the Syrian demands. The Negotiations between the two sides led in the meeting of 24 May 1995, led to a framework of understanding about the security arrangements. The agreement included many points, some of which were:

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The Syrian Concept of Peace

In the aftermath of the Second Gulf War, the shuttle trips of James Baker, the then USA Secretary of State, within the States of the Middle East resulted in the agreement of all such States concerned with the Arab-Israeli conflict to attend the Madrid Peace Conference to settle the Arab-Israeli struggle, under the patronage of USA and the then Soviet Union and later the Russian. Two bilateral and multilateral negotiating frameworks stemmed from this federation The Conference was held on 30 October 1991. Motives and objectives of the participants in Madrid Conference, as regards the Golan question in particular and the Arab-Israeli struggle in general, were clearly described in the speeches delivered in the inauguration ceremony by both Farouk Al-Shar'a, Syria's Foreign Minister, and Yitzhak Shamir, the then Israeli prime Minister. Farouk Al-Shar'a said that the Security Council's two Resolutions 242 and 338, upon the basis which the Conference was being held, should be wholly implemented in all aspects. Resolution 242 clearly emphasized in its preamble the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, which implied that each inch of the Arab territories, i.e. the Golan, West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, that Israel occupied by war and force should be completely returned to their legitimate owners. The Israeli occupation of the Syrian and Palestinian territories led to displacing of about half a million Syrian Citizens from the Golan, to which they have not been hitherto able to return, and of about a quarter of a million Palestinian refugees living in Syria who were deprived of the right to return to Palestine; the HOMEland of their fathers and forefathers. The Syrian Arab Delegation came to this Conference, in spite of the Syrian reservations concerning its form and mandate, just to try to reach a just honorable comprehensive peace for all sides and on all fronts of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Delegation asserted the keen desire in the success of the peace process this necessarily required that the multilateral negotiations, which were not provided for in Resolution 242, should not start before realizing a clear tangible progress in the lateral negotiations which would evidence the elimination of the basic impediments on the road for peace. Yitzhak Shamir, in his speech, said, " We believe that the objective of the direct negotiation is to sign peace treaties between Israel and its neighbors, to reach an agreement on measures transitory to autonomy with Arab Palestinians and that the question is not the territory but our existence. It will be much regrettable to primarily concentrate negotiations first of all on the territory, which is the quickest way between us of freezing it, whereas what we need fore must and in the first place is to build confidence, to eliminate the danger of confrontation and to develop our relations in the most possible ways. Yitzhak Shamir cleared the Israeli position Quoted in an interview he gave to the Israeli Daily Haa’retz as saying, "It is possible to reach a peace agreement with Syria; even without returning the Occupied Golan; by signing a peace treaty. Suitable conditions may be established on the borders, such as decreasing the military presence between the two States and a pre-notification of exercises". Such statements of Shamir came in harmony with the decision adopted, by the Knesset, on November 11, 1991 by a majority of 26 pros and 12 against, which literary stipulated that "the Knesset re-asserts that the "Occupied Golan", being an integral part of State of Israel, constitute an important bond of the State security and are not subject to negotiations, The Knesset calls upon the Government to provide the resources required for the economic development and to expend settlement therein". Such decision responded to the proposal of the blocks of Labour, Likud, Hethia, Tsnomite and Molidet Parties in the Knesset.

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The Question of Borderlines

May 9-1916, Secret convention made during World War between Great Britain and France , for the dismemberment of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. The agreement took its name from its negotiator, Mark Sykes of Britain and Geerges picott of France. On the eve of the end of the First World War, and upon the defeat of the Ottoman Sultanate and its losing of many of its Arab provinces. the competition was agitated between the French and British Empires over the provinces due to different regions to be controlled as already agreed between them under Sykes-Picott plans. Such competition led to inserting many amendments to Sykes-Picott Treaty. Consequently the borders of the British-occupied area of the Hebron Region were stretched, in deviation from the conditions of Sykes-Picot Treaty, from a point to the north of Akka City to the southern coast of Al-Houleh Lake. In the autumn of 1918, the British army tore the Golan region out of the Turks and set up a temporary administration therein with a border superposing in some of its points as described under Sykes-Picott Treaty. It was a straight line stretching from Banias to the eastern coast of Tiberius Lake. On 23 December 1920, Britain and France reached an agreement upon new borders which kept a great part of the Golan territory, excluding Al-Qunaitra, in Britain's hands. The annexation of Palestine was the first issue within the application of the British directives. Such annexation depended on an immense knowledge of the Region's nature and topography, the borders therefore were laid according to a natural and not engineering track. In accordance with the first article of such agreement, the political limit dividing the British areas from the French ones along the Palestinian-Syrian borders started from Samakh Town on Tiberius Lake, so that the political border should be drawn to the south of, and parallel to, the railway heading for the Lake. The border at Samakh Town would be fixed so that the two parties would be capable of establishing a port and a railway station which would allow a free access to Tiberius Lake.

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The Golan and International Legitimacy

 Hereunder is a hint about the international resolutions issued by the UN General Assembly and its various organizations, corresponding and relative to the occupied Golan and Arab Territories:

The UN Resolutions and their most important purports :

• Resolution N° 2725 of 4 July 1967 concerning the respect of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, and that Israel should guarantee security and safety of population of such territories.

• Resolution N° 2443 dated 19 December 1968 concerning the establishment of a committee to investigate into the Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population of the occupied territories.

• Resolution N° 2452 dated 19 December 1968 requesting Israel to immediately arrange for the return of the refugees who fled the occupied territories and extending the term of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency ( UNRWA ).

• Resolution N° 2649 dated 30 November 1970 about legitimacy of struggle of population under colonial and foreign control, condemning denial of the self-determination right particularly for peoples of South Africa and Palestine.

• Resolution N° 2851 dated 20 December 1971 strictly requesting Israel to cancel all procedures of annexation or settlement in the occupied territories, and requesting the Special Committee to continue its job.

• General Assembly N° 1441 dated 15 December 1975 : The report of the Special Committee for investigating into the Israeli practices of the human rights of the population of the occupied territories.

• Resolution N° 1531 dated 22 December 1976 providing assistance to the immigrants due to Israeli aggressive activities of 1967.

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