Talking In Circles

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JERUSALEM: Secretary of State Warren Christopher is in Jerusalem today, trying to settle the thorny Golan Heights issue. 14,000 Israelis live in the disputed area, which Israel captured from Syria during the Six Day War in1967. The settlers would be forced to leave if Syria reclaimed the territory. Despite Christopher's presence, the United States has little to offer the two countries according to Time's Johanna McGeary. "Shimon Peres is ready to give up the Golan Heights in exchange for something worthwhile. Until Israel makes a Golan Heights deal with Syria, it cannot disengage from Lebanon, since the Syrians keep that conflict going. If Peres delivers a peace deal, he stands a great chance of reelection." Unfortunately, Syrian President Hafez Assad does not have such powerful incentives to deal: "If Assad makes peace, he has to grudgingly open the door to Israeli trade, communication, and tourists, endandangering his repressive authoritarian regime. Is it worth the risk? Besides, as long as he keeps negotiating, the United States keeps offering him allurements to make peace, so he keeps stringing us along." As long as this runaround continues, Peres may search in vain for a peace deal, unless the US changes its policy and demands concrete action from Assad.