Syria says referendum law blocks peace

Nov. 26, 2010 at 7:29 PM
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JERUSALEM, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- An Israeli law requiring a referendum on a possible return of territories is jeopardizing any chance for peace in the region, a Syrian minister says.

The Knesset passed a law Monday requiring the public's approval and the votes of 60 Knesset members for any withdrawal from the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem or any territories under full Israeli control, Ynetnews reported.

One Knesset member, Shaul Mofaz, described the referendum requirement as "a democratic tool which allows social involvement and helps unity." He also said a public-endorsed decision bolsters leadership.

Responding to the referendum and the possibility of peace negotiations with Israel, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said, "The negotiations on the Syrian channel are possible as far as we are concerned if there is a partner which seeks peace -- something which does not exist at the moment. The negotiations must take into account a full return to the Golan up to the June 4, 1967, border. This matter is not negotiable, and is the basis for a dialogue on the other issues stemming from it."

The Arab-Israeli War or Six-Day War was fought between June 5 and June 10, 1967, precipitated by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser evicting United Nations peacekeeping forces in the region and, acting on false reports from the Soviet Union that Israel was assembling troops along the Syrian border, massing his own troops in the Sinai Peninsula on Israel's border.

Nasser closed shipping to Israel.

Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Syria joined forces against Israel, which stood alone and won a decisive victory, seizing Jerusalem, Hebron and the West Bank.

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