In a series of secret meetings in Europe between September 2004 and July 2006, Syrians and Israelis formulated understandings for a peace agreement between Israel and Syria...
...The document is described as a "non-paper," a document of understandings that is not signed and lacks legal standing - its nature is political. It was prepared in August 2005 and has been updated during a number of meetings in Europe.
The contacts ended after the Syrians demanded an end to meetings on an unofficial level and called for a secret meeting at the level of deputy minister, on the Syrian side, with an Israeli official at the rank of a ministry's director general, including the participation of a senior American official. Israel did not agree to this Syrian request.
According to Geoffrey Aronson, an American from the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, who was involved in the talks, an agreement under American auspices would call for Syria to ensure that Hezbollah would limit itself to being solely a political party.
He also told Haaretz that Khaled Meshal, Hamas' political bureau chief, based in Damascus, would have to leave the Syrian capital.
Syria would also exercise its influence for a solution to the conflict in Iraq, through an agreement between Shi'a leader Muqtada Sadr and the Sunni leadership, and in addition, it would contribute to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the refugee problem.
Aronson said the idea of a park on the Golan Heights allows for the Syrian demand that Israel pull back to the June 4 border, on the one hand, while on the other hand, the park eliminates Israeli concerns that Syrians will have access to the water sources of Lake Kinneret...
...It also emerged that one of the Syrian messages to Israel had to do with the ties between Damascus and Tehran. In the message, the Alawi regime ... asserts that it considers itself to be an integral part of the Sunni world and that it objects to the Shi'a theocratic regime, and is particularly opposed to Iran's policy in Iraq. A senior Syrian official stressed that a peace agreement with Israel will enable Syria to distance itself from Iran.
It appears Dubya has a hand in preventing these talks from moving from unofficial and secret status, to official status.
As flagged by LiberalOasis in August '06, a Lebanese political analyst told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that:
In September 2004, a common friend of yours and mine, Wolf -- and I won't say his name now -- came to Lebanon and Damascus.
And he is a very close friend to Israel, believe me. Nobody more than this guy love Israel's interest. [sic]
He came to see whether there is a possibility for a certain peace talk in the future.
A week later, President Bush made a presidential statement forbidding any peace talks to go between Israel, Lebanon and Syria.
And today, the right-wing Cybercast News Service reports:
Israel officially has rejected the Syrian overtures, apparently because Washington doesn't want Israel to engage Syria at this time