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A sharp confrontation erupted yesterday during a session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that hosted American-Syrian businessman Ibrahim (Abe) Suleiman. Uzi Arad, of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, said during a meeting with Suleiman in Washington about a month ago, that he had told him "the Assad family does not want peace."

Arad also claimed Suleiman told him the only way to make peace with Syria was to "do what the Turks did." Two issues undermining relations between Syria and Turkey were resolved when Ankara threatened Damascus with war.

Arad had initially taken part in the talks between Suleiman, who has close ties with the Syrian regime, and Alon Liel, former head of the Foreign Ministry. After three meetings Arad left the talks, claiming that Liel was agreeing to misleading concessions.

Suleiman vociferously rejected Arad's claims.