Netanyahu Offered Syria Four-way Land Exchange Deal in 2009, Former Aide Says

Former national security adviser Uzi Arad says PM used American intermediaries to propose plan for territorial exchange involving Jordan, Saudi Arabia: 'Netanyahu ran indirect negotiations with Assad, the psychopathic son, over leaving the Golan'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, attend a session at the Knesset, Israel's Parliament in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009. Israel's parliament has given preliminary approval to legislation that would require a national referendum on any peace deal that gives up control of east Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. If approved, the law could constrain a future Israeli government's ability to turn over captured land as part of a peace arrangement.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israel offered Syria in 2009 an international land-swap agreement including the Golan Heights and involving Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Uzi Arad, the prime minister’s former national security adviser, said Wednesday. 

According to Arad, Netanyahu offered in talks mediated by the United States an international land swap that would have allowed most of the Jewish towns in the Heights to remain in place. Syria rejected the proposition, however. 

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The plan, initiated by Arad himself, would have had Jordan give Syria land along their shared border that would be equivalent in area to land Israel would retain in the Golan Heights. Saudi Arabia would give Jordan a 10-kilometer strip of land south of Aqaba and would get a similar area of land from Jordan along their shared border. Jordan endorsed the idea, but it was never presented to the Saudi government.

Speaking at a conference on Wednesday, Arad said that “Netanyahu ran indirect negotiations with Assad, the psychopathic son, over leaving the Golan Heights.” The conference was convened by Knesset member Yair Lapid, who is calling for international recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Heights.

“The unarguable fact is that four Israeli prime ministers, two from Labor and two from Likud, negotiated to leave the Golan Heights,” Arad said. “We might have forgotten about it, but Assad has all the documents, some American, in his palace.”

Lapid said at the conference that Israel has a rare opportunity to achieve international recognition of its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, starting with the U.S. — Republicans and Democrats together — and later from the European Union and other nations.

“I speak to you, U.S. President Donald Trump, from the Israeli Knesset: after your courageous move for Israel, in recognizing Jerusalem as our capital and moving the embassy, now acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” said Lapid.