Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to a draft for peace between Syria and Israel during talks between 2009 and 2011. The agreement stipulated abandoning Iran in exchange for the Golan Heights, according to a book titled “Reaching the Heights” by the American diplomat Fredric C Hof released in March.
Hof’s “Reaching the Heights,” reveals the details of secret talks between Syria and Israel that occurred between 2009 and 2011, according to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
Hof was among the first officials to suggest adopting the June 4th, 1967 line for peace between the two countries.
Hof had kicked off his peace mediation during the term of former President Barack Obama. His mediation differed from others that were based on “land for peace”, meaning Israel would return the occupied Golan Heights to Syria, in exchange for Damascus normalizing ties with Israel.
The peace process was launched in Madrid in 1991, and in 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton received a pledge from Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that Israel would fully withdraw from the Golan in exchange for establishing peaceful relations and making security arrangements. This was known as Rabin’s “deposit”.
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Hof’s approach was based on a different exchange: Restoring land in exchange for strategic positioning and abandoning Iran, Asharq al-Awsat reported.
In May 2010, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee met with al-Assad in Damascus and showed through a written document the latter’s openness to a peace agreement that meets all Israeli requirements in exchange for a complete withdrawal from the June 4, 1967 line.
In 2011, Hof and Assad met in Damascus, and the latter agreed on “specific references” that cover land and security issues, which entail ending Syrian activities and relations that pose a security threat to Israel, according to the U.S. envoy.
Hof presented the draft agreement to Assad in Damascus in February 2011. The American official spoke of his keenness on achieving peace between Syria and Israel and establishing amicable formal relations between Damascus and Washington. Assad reacted positively to his proposal, Hof wrote in his book.
As Syria plunged into war, former U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in March 2019, dashing the previous peace efforts.
The agreement between Assad and Israel is still ongoing with its articles entailing peace agreements between the Palestinians and Israelis, ending the state of war between Syria and Israel and leading to peace, additionally, no party would transfer weapons or military equipment to Hezbollah in Lebanon or allow for operations to be carried out from its territories, according to the newspaper.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.