Israel Would Leave Golan: Syria

Israelis willing to trade disputed territory for peace, Damascus told
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2008 4:55 PM CDT
Tourists pose for a picture on an outlook on Mount Bental in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights near the border with Syria in this 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Yaron Kaminsky)
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(Newser) – Israel is willing to return the Golan Heights to Syria in return for peace, Reuters reports. A Syrian minister said in a TV interview that the Israeli message was relayed through Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan, set to visit Syria this weekend. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last week he was working on a "significant move" toward peace.

The Heights have been a bone of contention since Israel seized them in 1967, and the last set of talks broke down in 2000 in a stalemate over the scope of Israeli withdrawal. And the Golan is hardly the only stumbling block to peace, officials said, noting Israeli objections to Syria's support of Islamist groups in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.