President Hafez Al-Assad's Struggle for Golan (3)

The Occupied Syrian Golan Heights was indeed one of the central causes of the late President Hafez Al-Assad. The Syria Times takes honor in publishing some of the golden sayings by the late President about the Golan:

Extract from the interview granted to The "Washington Post" and "Newsweek" the American Daily and Magazine on July 28, 1991

Question:

I am sure you understand that there is some ambiguity about your message to President Bush; there is a question asked: Has the USA given Syria any side guarantees or understanding about the Occupied Golan.

President’s answer:

"The USA has not given us any guarantees, but confirmed its commitment to the UN resolutions adopted in 1967, 1973 and the 1980’s. The USA has taken certain positioning, not only at the advent of the current Administration:

The former Administration had confirmed also the continuous commitment to those resolutions. We want no more from anyone. We demand the USA, the Soviet Union and the other permanent members of the Security Council, abide by what they have decided on or participated in deciding according to the UN resolutions. Particularly as all such states say that there is no way to realize peace other than through the UN resolutions."

Question:

Do you mean the return of all Arab lands is required in to such resolutions?

Late President’s answer:

"This is what the UN resolutions provide. As you know, both the USA and the Soviet Union have not recognized any measure previously taken by Israel as regards such lands. I would also like to recall that these position and resolutions were taken by previous administrations. The USA does not recognize the annexation of the Golan, and has previously rejected it, together with all other states."

Question:

Israel is wondering whether you are planning to enter into direct negotiations with her after the formal opening of the conference?

Late President’s answer:

"The delegations to the Conference will discuss issues specific to them; while the Syrian Delegation for instance will discuss the Golan Issue. Who will discuss such issue instead? No one, other than the Syrians, can discuss what relates to the Syrian territory. This is not new to my, attitude even previously, when we have been discussing the Peace Conference, it was obvious that it will split technically; there will be Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian geographical committees so that these delegations discuss their regional issues, but the peace process and the final outcome must be a comprehensive settlement , i.e. realization of peace between the various Arab Parties and Israel, other wise there will be no peace."

Question:

I believe that we don't think really that Israel is going to give up everything. Your Excellency is talking about UN resolutions. Do you believe that Israel will quit Gaza, Jerusalem, the Golan and the West bank? if she did would there be any space left for maneuvering or for security?

Late President’s answer:

"Was the World Community unjust when it decided that Israel must quit the occupied territories. Will then the map of the world be liable to change according to the whims of one maverick party in the international community."

Extract from the interview granted to American TV "ABC" on September 16, 1991.

Question:

Of course I understand that you will not negotiate with me, but you will negotiate in the Conference. Suppose that the Conference convened and an agreement on the Golan was reached, will this be sufficient to make peace with Israel?

Late President’s answer:

"The efforts currently exerted are based on the Security Council Resolutions N° 242 and N° 338 on the basis of realizing a comprehensive peace in the region. The Golan, as an occupied Syrian territory, shall be reinstated, within the framework of such comprehensive peace, to its natural status as part of Syrian territory. Upon implementing the comprehensive solution for the two Arab and Israeli sides, comprehensive peace will prevail and documents will be achieve peace process. This as you know will be decided within the Conference, the Israeli side on the one hand and the Arab side on the other.

Question:

Have you been promised by President Bush that he will exert pressure upon Israel to return the Golan? I know that he has informed you that he does not recognize the annexation of the Golan, but has he promised you to exert pressure upon Israel?

Late President’s answer:

"It is not only President Bush who talks about the Golan as a Syrian territory, but the successive American Administrations have always confirmed. President Bush is just by the American attitude as regarding the Golan issue and that of the occupied territories in general. At any rate, I do not believe that there is a man in the USA who accepts to live in illusion who says that peace will be recognized between the Arabs and Israel even if the occupation of the occupied Arab territories does not come to an end."

Extract from the interview granted to the American "Time" Magazine on November 13, 1992

Question:

Egypt was able, through negotiation, to regain Sinai, will Syria conduct similar negotiations with Israel through which it regains the Golan?

President’s answer:

"What is going on now ? Isn’t it negotiating? Are negotiations not being conducted between Syria and Israel?"

Question:

Is it possible to imagine an agreement signed with Israel under which Syria regains the Golan and the state of war is terminated, and leave other issues to be solved later?

Late President’s answer:

"Is this what you meant when you talked about Egypt? Peace is not, and must not be, realized at the expense of the territories of the others. What is the Arab motivation to work for peace if such peace will give their lands to Israelis? There are half a million displaced people from the Golan, how can we convince them that we have to give a part of the Golan to Israel?"

Question:

Do we understand that regaining the Golan is not sufficient, from your point of view, to give peace to Israel and that you want to wait until the West Bank is returned in order to give peace thereafter to Israel and sign with it a peace agreement?

Late President’s answer:

"We have not previously gone into details, and we do not want to at the moment. It is essential now that there must be an acknowledgment from everyone of what has been mentioned in the principles which have been adopted for building peace, before commencing of the peace process, namely the comprehensiveness of solution. Every side should have reassurance that we are heading towards the comprehensive settlement; each bilateral committee then will have its own job."

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

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