Assad is not and never was serious about peace. The man said himself on the record in exchange for the Golan he will offer more of some form of ceasefire not the opening of embassies and trade agreements. What is in it for Israel? He couldn't stop Hizbollah even if he wanted to they are a law unto themselves and answer to Iran and if he turned n them as he would be obligated to do he would end up in the same place as Rafik Hariri & Sadat. He would be lucky if he only lost his throne. Israel currently has the Golan and it has a ceasefire so whats in it for us other than a a Nobel Prize for Bibi? The only reason Olmert was doing so well was because Turkey was saying Assad wants this we suggest you give it and Olmert was saying well if you recomend it Mr Erdogan it must be a good idea so I will go along with it. Any deal that involved giving up the Golan Israeli taxpayers would be paying for for the next decade. There are 30,000 jews in the Golan all needing new homes & new jobs, military bases & early warning stations would have to be moved, the millions Israel earns from Golan produce would be gone and I very much doubt the US will pick up the tab under current economic conditions. The revolution in Egypt has just shown we can't risk giving up the Golan because its military value is to high. Assad is here today where will he be tomorrow and how do we known he won't be replaced by somebody much worse like the Muslim Brotherhood? Syria is a nothing in the picture and looking to get a deal with Syria first is nothing more than trying to avoid dealing with the palestinian issue. If the palestinian front is your priority then you should dedicate more time to that rather than the Syrian front which has no strategic value in the big picture. The palestinians do need to be dealt with in some form or another. Obama's mistake was he has been unwilling to show tough love to the palestinians. He is happy for Abbas to set pre conditions and moan when Israel doesn't accept them and builds settlements anyway. Obama hasn't been willing to say I am the president, I am on your side but if you want my support you will talk unconditionally. If Abbas wants a settlement freeze the logical way to go about it is talk unconditionally and negotiate a freeze. Refusing to talk achieves nothing. In his desperation to reach out to the islamic world Obama's thinking has been punish Israel and never criticize Abbas but if he was looking for results he would have taken an even handed approach banged heads together when needed and offer praise and punishment to both sides based on the situation.
15 police officers killed in Colombia helicopter crash (Reuters)
from the article: When will Obama start talking to Hamas and Hezbollah?