[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Hardly shocking that Netanyahu says he would
honor a signed agrement duly confirmed and approved by whatever procedure is
in place at the time it is signed (be it Knesset confirmation alone or
That isn't the question.
The question is if he is bound by any letters, communications,
"understandings", etc. between the current Israeli Government and Syria that
did not complete these procedures. In this case we have the precedent of
what Netanyahu did with the "Rabin deposit" when he came to power: he
Netanyahu denies saying he wouldn't abide by Syria deal
Gil Hoffman and Jpost.com staff , THE JERUSALEM POST May. 22, 2008
Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday denied ever saying that he
would not abide by a peace agreement signed with Syria.
Netanyahu's office released a statement declaring that not only did the
opposition leader not make the remark, but that "the issue was not even
discussed by the Likud faction."
The statement went on to say that Netanyahu believes that if Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert signs a deal with Damascus, it will be rejected by the Knesset
and the public by a huge majority.
On Thursday, Likud faction chairman Gideon Sa'ar was quoted as saying that
the Likud would not be obligated by any peace agreement reached between
Olmert's government and Syria if Netanyahu wins the next election and
returns to the Prime Minister's Office.
The faction met Thursday at the party's Tel Aviv headquarters to respond to
Olmert's overtures to Syria and the ongoing criminal investigations against
"There is wide agreement from Right to Left that the diplomatic process
cannot be used to shelter politicians in distress," Netanyahu said. "Most of
the public knows the prime minister expedited the talks with Syria and set
the exact time for revealing them to distract the public from the
investigations against him. Olmert, who is up to his neck in investigations,
has no moral or public mandate to conduct fateful negotiations on Israel's
Netanyahu said Syria was "an inseparable part of the axis of evil" that
would not disconnect from Iran. He warned that conceding the Golan would
allow Iran to use it as a command post to endanger the entire country.
"If you believe the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem that Olmert has
already promised to give up the Golan up to the banks of the Galilee before
the negotiations have begun, it is unprecedented diplomatic and security
abandonment," Netanyahu said. "This irresponsibility joins the failures of
running the Second Lebanon War, preventing the rearming of Hizbullah and
preventing Kassam fire on the people of southern Israel. It is forbidden to
allow the Kadima government to continue failing."
Netanyahu called upon all the parties to agree on a date for elections that
would allow whomever would win to receive a "new, clear and clean mandate
from the people."
Olmert's associates declined to respond to Netanyahu, beyond reiterating
that the timing of the Syria announcement was decided before the Talansky
affair broke out.
But in April, amid reports of renewed diplomatic moves between Israel and
Syria, Olmert traded jabs on the Golan issue with Netanyahu.
"Netanyahu... was the one who sent then-Syrian President Hafez Assad an
American businessman [Ron Lauder] to relinquish the Golan Heights in
Israel's name, before any negotiations had begun," read a statement issued
then from the Prime Minister's Office.
Netanyahu's office responded that "despite Olmert's attempts to mislead the
public, Netanyahu insisted on keeping the Golan Heights, and that was why
the talks were stopped.
In an interview with Channel 2 Thursday night, Netanyahu would not rule out
negotiating with Syria, but he did rule out relinquishing the Golan Heights.