“Resistance of the occupation is a national duty and to support it is a moral and legal dutyâ€¦and an honor which we are proud of,” saidÂ Syrian Prime Minister Bashar al-Assad at the Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, currently being held in Istanbul. Though, resistance to whom, one might ask. After all, when the Muslim Brotherhood tried to “resist” Syrian rule, tried to assassinate Hafez al-Assad in Damascus, killed a number ofÂ ‘Alawi military Generals, and declared the town of Hama to be an independent Muslim state, Assad surrounded the town with artillery, and bombed the city for 11 day, killing 38,000 people. Clearly, that type of resistance is frowned upon. So let us clarify Assad’s statement: resisting Israel is honorable.
But, such a statement, blatant and in the open is not politically correct for a nation which is attempting to make friends in the West. Therefore, Assad mentioned Syria’s “continuing desire for the realization of just and comprehensive peace on the basis of the return of the occupied territories, especially the occupied Syrian Golan.” What this really means is, “if Israel gives us back the Golan Heights, and establishes a Palestinian State, which really has nothing to do with us or our national interests, we would be inclined to sign a peace treaty with Israel, which would act as a semi-long term cease fire agreement, but include definite borders instead of cease-fire lines.”
Yet, Syria, somehow, missed the mark. You see, for a peace to exist both parties have to accept that the other one has a right to exist. If not, there cannot be peace but rather a secession of war. Assad went on to say that the core problem in the Middle East is “the Zionist occupation” [which] “we must begin to work to eliminate.” Note his terminology. Assad did NOT say “the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.” Rather, he said “the Zionist occupation.” What does this minor difference mean? Well, while the former refers to the territory of the West Bank being occupied, the later refers to all of Palestine, including Israel, as being occupied by Zionists. He then says that this entity’s occupation ought to be eliminated. So, Israel is at the heart of all problems in the Middle East and ought to be eliminated. In short, if one party is calling for the destruction of the other, they aren’t really calling for peace.
Does this sound like an arm extended in peace and friendship? I didn’t think so.