I agree with most of what you have said. However, I do not believe that Likud holds onto areas because of religion. Look at America--a great bastion of "religion." They, like Israel, hide behind religion to justify their actions, not to inform their actions. Those powerful in any country basically operate the same way. They will take what they can. Period. If they cannot hold it, it will be taken away. The Golan should of course be Syria's, but Israel will not cede it without intense pressure by the US. That is not talk--that means pulling funding. Israel is in a whole other realm when it comes to US backing. As for making the Palestinians weaker, how could that be done? They live in the most despicable conditions of virtually any population in the entire world. Why would you want that done? If anything, the push ought to be to strengthen the Palestinians. Not militarily, but politically and economically. This must be done through the US, Israel's great backer. The huge backlash against Israel because of Lebanaon (2006) and Gaza (2008) has done a lot to help the peace process by opening the eyes of the world further to Israel's great crimes.
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from the article: U.S. envoy arrives in Lebanon in latest Mideast peace push