Israeli communal leaders in the Golan Heights sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanding Turkey to continue advancing peace talks between Israel and Syria without pushing on a condition for an Israeli withdrawal from the region for peace with Syria.
The letter came after some media reports that Israel was prepared to swap the Golan Heights for peace, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert conveyed a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through Erdogan.
According to the Haaretz newspaper, Golan leaders asked Prime Minister Erdogan in their letter the advancement of talks be based on the same model used by Turkey and Syria to resolve its dispute over Hatay - a region annexed by Ankara in 1939.
"Turkey has proven its ability to establish peace with Syria after a difficult dispute of many years," wrote Katzrin local council head Sammy Bar Lev and Golan regional council head Eli Malkha in their letter to Erdogan.
"We call on you to use the successful Turkish model of the Hatay region to advance peace between Israel and Syria," they said.
Although Syrian President al-Assad confirmed that he received a message indicating that Prime Minister Olmert was willing to withdraw from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria, the Israeli Prime Minister has kept silent.
Israel occupied the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move nthat has not been recognized by the international community.
Latest round of peace talks between Israel and Syria in 2000 were inconclusive.
Last Mod: 25 Nisan 2008, 14:22