Netanyahu Asks Syria For Peace

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AMMAN, Jordan: Saying his goal was "not merely to have a peace process; it is to have peace," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was ready for frank peace talks with Syria. Netanyahu, fresh from a visit Monday with Jordan's King Hussein, said Israel was willing to hold negotiations "on all outstanding matters." That opens the way for discussion about the status of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria during the 1967 Mideast War. Other outstanding matters include Israel's occupation of a southern strip of Lebanon and continued Hamas attacks on Israel from within Lebanon, which is controlled by Syria. Hussein is well-poised to play a central role in mediating an Israeli-Syrian peace, and is actively seeking that chance. Better than any other Arab leader, Hussein seems to understand the new prime minister's cautious approach to the peace process. "There is a mutual trust between the two leaders," reports TIME's Jamil Hamad from Jerusalem. "They have known each other for some time and the two have met secretly several times. There are Israeli reports they've met twice since Netanyahu's election in late May." Hussein met with Syrian President Hafez Assad last weekend to discuss Israeli suggestions for an agreement under which Israeli troops could withdraw from Lebanon. -->