Knesset to Assad: Get Lost

The Israeli parliament passed on first reading Wednesday a bill that would grant tax breaks to residents of the Golan Heights, a move likely to anger Syria from which Israel seized the territory. The bill, which needs to be approved at three further readings before becoming law, was supported by 67 of the 120 members of parliament.

IOA Editor: As most Israelis must know by now, Syria’s president Assad is ready to make peace with Israel based on the return of the Golan Heights to Syria. Now the Knesset has shown him that it is not threatened by his peace overtures, and that it would much rather have a piece of Syria than peace with Syria.

UPDATE: Syrian official: Golan benefits proves Israel doesn’t want peace


By AFP – 10 Feb 2010
www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ig5NESik6fjKGZyB4hdXsXZZqjeg

Israel MPs endorse Golan tax breaks

JERUSALEM — The Israeli parliament passed on first reading Wednesday a bill that would grant tax breaks to residents of the Golan Heights, a move likely to anger Syria from which Israel seized the territory.

The bill, which needs to be approved at three further readings before becoming law, was supported by 67 of the 120 members of parliament.

The bill grants Golan residents the same tax breaks as residents of peripheral areas inside Israel.

The main opposition Kadima party strongly criticised the draft legislation — even though it was sponsored by one of its own members — saying the timing was wrong following a recent war of words between Israel and Syria.

The party said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have accepted a suggestion from Kadima to delay the vote until tensions with Syria ease and accused him of “playing with fire.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman infuriated Damascus earlier this month with a stark warning that any new conflict between the foes would lead to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad being removed from power.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem countered that Israel’s major cities would come under attack in any new war.

Israel captured the strategic Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981.

Syria has always demanded the full return of the territory in any peace deal, right down to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s main water source.

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