Syria Sends a Signal

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AMMAN: Nothing like a funeral to prompt some healing of family feuds. Syria's President Hafez Assad's surprise arrival at Monday's burial of King Hussein may signal a renewed willingness to pursue regional peace efforts, which broke down following the slaying of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. "Assad knew that people would be reading the signals at Hussein's funeral," says TIME Middle East correspondent Scott MacLeod. "Showing up at an event attended by Israeli leaders and President Clinton suggests he wants to get back into some sort of peace process."

Syria began exploratory talks with Rabin's government over returning the Golan Heights -- captured by Israel in the 1967 war -- in exchange for security guarantees, but Benjamin Netanyahu is determined to hold on to the territory. Even though there's little chance of any progress before Israel's June election, the surest sign that peace with Syria may be back on the agenda was Tuesday's report of a new Israeli settlement being built on the Golan. After all, no piece of ground is more attractive to the right-wing settler movement than one they fear may be negotiated away.