The Netanyahu government has done a total about face from the previous Olmert government and not only rejected the idea of Turkish mediation in Syria-Israel peace negotiations; it has blamed Syria for the so-called failure of the previous rounds of talks. Thus Israel has shut the door on the possibility of a Syrian peace process. What is especially and bitterly ironic about all this is you now have a complete turnaround in attitude on the part of Israel and the U.S. Previously, the Bush administration was adamantly opposed to a Syria-Israel peace track but Olmert pursued it anyway (half-heartedly, but he pursued it). Now you have an Obama administration very interested in prying Syria from Iran’s orbit and normalizing relations with the former nation with Israel balking.
Here is yet another example of the gathering storm in U.S.-Israel relations not just over a settlement freeze, but over the very idea of making peace with any Arab entity whether it be Palestine, Syria or whomever.
In the foreign ministry statement on this matter, Danny Ayalon made the typically stupid claim that because Syria was the culprit in the “failure” of the mediated talks, the only way future talks could resume is if they were direct and unmediated. How that would make a difference in Syria’s willingness to be forthcoming is a complete mystery. Clearly, Ayalon knows that Syria prefers mediation and is less likely to be willing to talk directly to an intransigent Israeli government. So in this instance Israel gets to blame Syria AND heads off the chance of any substantive negotiations with that country’s leadership that might lead to the unthinkable (for an Israeli nationalist) possibility of Israel actually returning conquered territory to an Arab state and thereby gaining peace.