Scaling The Heights

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JERUSALEM: After his attempts to bring Syrian President Hafez Assad to the negotiating table were briskly rebuffed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to turn to the U.S. for help. State Department spokesman Glyn Davies announced Wednesday that the U.S. will act as a go-between and send an Israeli offer of peace talks without preconditions to the Syrian government. Davies said the U.S. was trying to facilitate contacts between the two sides so that negotiations over the status of the Golan Heights can resume. "Netanyahu is trying to make sure he's not blamed because the talks are stalled," says TIME's Johanna McGeary. "Although he has said that everything could be on the table with Syria, he has also made it pretty clear that although he might talk about the Golan, he won't give any of it back. So what is there for Assad to talk about? Considering the substance, this is mainly a way to keep the negotiations process in play. The same is true for the U.S.: Clinton needs to pretend things aren't stuck, too." Meanwhile the talks about talks go on and the Golan Heights remains in Israeli hands. -->