NSC Chairman: Syrian Call for Peace Talks With Israel 'Authentic'

National Security Council chair: Unclear if Syria is interested in peace, or just in a peace process.

National Security Council (NSC) Chairman Ilan Mizrahi said Monday that "Syria's call for dialogue with Israel is authentic."

Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mizrahi added that it is difficult to determine whether Syria is interested in peace, or just a peace process.

Mizrahi said Syrian President Bashar Assad believes that the strengthening of ties with Iran and Hezbollah has borne fruit, and that Syria is "being sought after by the international community and has emerged from the isolation."

The NSC chairman also addressed Middle Eastern states' acquisition of civilian nuclear reactors, saying the process could lead to a nuclear weapons program.

Mizrahi, a former deputy Mossad chief, said the Iranian nuclear weapons program has led other Middle Eastern states to seek civilian reactors. "There is certainly concern that those who talk about civilian nuclear capabilities, are thinking about future military capabilities," he said.

He said those countries selling the reactors must ensure that the nuclear programs do not become military in nature.

Mizrahi stressed that the primary question regarding the Iranian nuclear is not when they will acquire the bomb, but rather when they will reach the point of no return - at which time they will have the ability to produce a nuclear weapon. "Once they have the ability, the rest is technical," he said.

The NSC chairman briefed the committee on the process of the strengthening of Islamic extremism, saying Al-Qaida is establishing itself in Lebanon - among other reasons, in order to play a role in a potential future power struggle in the country. At the same time, the organization is active in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, and is trying to gain a foothold in Jordan, Mizrahi said.