Mitchell to hand Assad Netanyahu’s proposed Golan withdrawal map

[Belman. Assad would never accept this deal.]

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 16, 2010,

Following the two-day Israeli-Palestinian face-to-face supervised by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Middle East envoy George Mitchell prepared for a major US diplomatic breakthrough during his visit to Damascus Thursday: The possible revival of Syrian-Israeli peace talks. He carries with him for Syrian president Bashar Assad a detailed map drawn up by Binyamin Netanyahu to represent Israel’s proposed withdrawal from much of the Golan. This map is a DEBKA-Net-Weekly Exclusive.

The Israeli prime minister refused to go into borders between Israel and the future Palestinian state at the talks he held with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at Sharm el-Sheikh Tuesday, Sept 14. First he wanted to dispose of other issues such as security.

His tactics for Syria are quite different. Three months ago, Netanyahu showed President Barack Obama detailed maps of the Golan showing how far he was willing to pull Israel forces back, provided Assad followed in the footsteps of the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat who visited Jerusalem in November 1977 and was rewarded with a full peace accord with Israel and the recovery of the entire Sinai Peninsula and its demilitarization.

Two conditions for Syria
A second Israeli condition for negotiating a peace-plus-withdrawal pact is the severance of the Assad regime’s strategic and military ties with Iran and termination of its backing for Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and a host of Palestinian terrorist organizations enjoying Syrian sanctuary and hospitality.

When he last visited the White House on July 6, Netanyahu presented this plan to Obama as his ultimate objective. However, debkafile’s sources in Washington report that the US President, Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell have adopted it as giving them enough leeway to tempt Assad into peace diplomacy with an active American hands-on.

Our sources report that France has been brought aboard the initiative.

When French President Nicolas Sarkozy saw the Netanyahu map, he appointed the eminent diplomat Jean-Claude Cousseran as special envoy for promoting an Israeli-Syrian peace accord. Cousseran was in Damascus on Monday, September 13, and spoke privately with Assad. Right after that conversation, the Elysee told the White House and Hillary Clinton that the door was open for Mitchell to present Netanyahu’s proposals and map.

This week the Obama administration has embarked on two major Middle East diplomatic projects in the hope that by striking gold on at least one, its mediators can stimulate a second.
debkafile’s Jerusalem sources note that while the US and French presidents have been made privy to Netanyahu’s peace initiatives and maps (shown exclusively here on debkafile), the prime minister has never shown them to his own government, his security cabinet or his inner Forum of Seven – excepting only for Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

In territorial terms, Israel and the IDF would pull back to what is known as the Ridge Line, thereby ceding to Syria the entire Golan plateau together with most of the communities living there. In military terms, Israel would be left with the comfortable option of quickly regaining control of the territory if the peace accords break down.

Geographically, Golan plateau is 1,800 square kilometers in area. Syria commands a third and Israel roughly 1,200 square kilometers. Netanyahu’s proposed withdrawal line (see attached map) is located 2.5 kilometers from the Jordan River. It is the last high-altitude area before the land on the western face of Golan drops steeply down to the Jordan River, the Hula Valley and Sea of Galilee.
Even after the bulk of the territory is restored to Syria, the Ridge Line offers Israel two major advantages compared with a total withdrawal up to the Jordan River.

1. Israel would retain control of the western and eastern banks of the Jordan River, a major source of its water supply. A troop presence on the two banks would make it easier to transfer military forces back to Golan in the event of war.

2. The Ridge Line is a natural barrier to passage in and out of the Golan. It would give the population centers of the Hula and Sea of Galilee valleys below with an Israeli military firewall against the Syrian shooting attacks plaguing them before the 1967 war and place an obstacle in the path of Syrian tanks trying to break from Golan to the lowlands of northeastern Israel.

According to our sources, Netanyahu has been trying for three months to convince Obama to place the Syrian peace track ahead of the fairly hopeless Palestinian process. He has shown the president how far Israel is prepared to go in ceding territory for drawing Assad to the negotiating table.

The prime minister also argued that, barring minor differences, his plan was very similar to one put forward by Frederic Hoff, the Syrian expert on Mitchell’s team, which proposes a two-stage Israeli withdrawal to the Ridge Line.

Stage One: After pulling back to central Golan, Israel would still retain its early warning stations and surveillance posts on Mt. Hermon and so command the vista from Golan to Damascus 40 kilometers away. Israel would also control both eastern and western banks of the River Jordan, making it easier to redeploy troops on the Golan in the event of a war.
Stage Two: Israel would also continue to hold the rim of the sheer rocky southern slopes dropping down to the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers which are impassable to armored units. This would act as a firewall against the Syrian shooting attacks which plagued Israel from 1948 until the Golan was seized in 1967 and a barrier against Syrian tanks breaking through to Israel’s northeastern lowlands.

Israelwould not have to withdraw west of the Jordan for a number of years – until Syria’s commitment to peace is proven.
According to our sources, Netanyahu is ready to buy into the Hof plan with the necessary adjustments.

Hof, our sources note, is the high-ranking American diplomat dispatched recently to Assad with a warning of serious consequences if he gave Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas for major free rein for terrorist attacks against Israeli targets with the aim of torpedoing the direct Israeli-Palestinian talks.

This same diplomat was also sent to Beirut last month with Washington’s warning that a repetition of the firefight provoked by Lebanese troops with an Israeli border unit on Aug. 3 would result in the IDF wiping out the Lebanese army in the space of four hours.

September 16, 2010 | 33 Comments »

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  1. RandyTexas: Edward Luttwak, the Jewish- American political scientist gave his take on the art of remaining a viable military and political power.

    I. Avoid war by every possible means, in all possible circumstances, but always act as if war might start at any time. Train intensively and be ready for battle at all times — but do not be eager to fight. The highest purpose of combat readiness is to reduce the probability of having to fight.

    II. Gather intelligence on the enemy and his mentality, and monitor his actions continuously. Efforts to do so by all possible means might not be very productive, but they are seldom wasted.

    III. Campaign vigorously, both offensively and defensively, but avoid battles, especially large-scale battles, except in very favorable circumstances. Don’t think like the Romans, who viewed persuasion as just an adjunct to force. Instead, employ force in the smallest possible doses to help persuade the persuadable and harm those not yet amenable to persuasion.

    IV. Replace the battle of attrition and occupation of countries with maneuver warfare — lightning strikes and offensive raids to disrupt enemies, followed by rapid withdrawals. The object is not to destroy your enemies, because they can become tomorrow’s allies. A multiplicity of enemies can be less of a threat than just one, so long as they can be persuaded to attack one another.

    V. Strive to end wars successfully by recruiting allies to change the balance of power. Diplomacy is even more important during war than peace. Reject, as the Byzantines did, the foolish aphorism that when the guns speak, diplomats fall silent. The most useful allies are those nearest to the enemy, for they know how best to fight his forces.

    VI. Subversion is the cheapest path to victory. So cheap, in fact, as compared with the costs and risks of battle, that it must always be attempted, even with the most seemingly irreconcilable enemies. Remember: Even religious fanatics can be bribed, as the Byzantines were some of the first to discover, because zealots can be quite creative in inventing religious justifications for betraying their own cause (“since the ultimate victory of Islam is inevitable anyway …”).

    VII. When diplomacy and subversion are not enough and fighting is unavoidable, use methods and tactics that exploit enemy weaknesses, avoid consuming combat forces, and patiently whittle down the enemy’s strength. This might require much time. But there is no urgency because as soon as one enemy is no more, another will surely take his place. All is constantly changing as rulers and nations rise and fall. Only the empire is eternal — if, that is, it does not exhaust itself.
    ——————————————————————————————————–

  2. RandyTexas:

    The real choice is not between peace and war, but to face reality or pretend. There will be war regardless. You can be prepared or caught flatfooted. The crazy ones are not those opposing capitulation but the practitioners of Islam who are going to have war even if everyone else thinks to makes peace. War and peace are not like an issue on a ballot that we vote for

    Do you read palms, tea leaves, horoscopes? What about visions,prophetic dreams? Would you perform your miracles at bar mitzvohs, sweet sixteens, stags?

    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/22646

  3. Bibi is smart. He is, prior to war, getting SYria to show its cards… either they are for peace or they are in IRan’s camp. IT is plain to see already but OBama needs more proof so Bibi is showing him.

    Smart? BB Netanyahu and his Likud cronies can call the latest round of “peace talks” whatever they want, but the fact remains that BB and his coalition of misfits are enemies of the state. “Meeting” with Arab terrorists (collaborating would be more accurate) who have Jewish blood on their hands and who have a basic platform calling for the destruction of the state of Israel is the very definition of treason. It doesn’t matter whether or not BB is indeed trying to stall the “peace talks, as his “peace partners” are claiming. By even giving the impression that there is any legitimacy to these “peace accords”, BB is solidifying Israel’s commitment to the national suicide known as the Oslo Accords. The PLO beasts are correct when they accuse BB of stalling. Stalling has always been a favorite tactic of the ego-maniacal Netanyahu, who lacks the courage to to call the Oslo Accords a sham and close the door on Obama. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to take the blame for any more territorial concessions. So he stalls and plays both sides. This way he can say “I tried” to the dolts of the left, while assuring his constituency that he’s still a hard-liner. Bibi in a nutshell.

    This time, when the ME erupts it will likely be the largest conflict since 1948 and 73. Hamas, Hiz, Syria and Iran will all be big losers.

    BB will be responsible for the excessive losses in Jewish Lives. That Brands him in any book a traitor who should be tried and hanged for his cowardice and perfidy.

  4. Do you know anybody in Israel that would like to revoke the peace treaties with both Egypt or Jordan?

    At least 30% of Israelis would and a lot more would also if they were told the truth.

    Jerry Have you ever fought in a war or lost a son or daughter in a war?

    Yes, I have and I would still opt for war. More Israelis have been killed in road accidents than in all our wars. Do we ban the cars, trucks and tractors?

    The crazy ones are those who would prefer a state of war over a state of peace.

    So we are crazy. One mans crazy is an-others sanity anybody who has read you comment HWSNBN over the past few years know who is crazy and who isn’t.

  5. The crazy ones are those who would prefer a state of war over a state of peace.

    You speak as though there is a choice.

    Other than Islamic fundamentalist, very few prefer war.

    The real choice is not between peace and war, but to face reality or pretend. There will be war regardless. You can be prepared or caught flatfooted. The crazy ones are not those opposing capitulation but the practitioners of Islam who are going to have war even if everyone else thinks to makes peace. War and peace are not like an issue on a ballot that we vote for.

  6. JerryLaury:

    Has Netanyahu gone crazy? Does he think that Israel giving up the Sinai in exchange for a worthless piece of paper was so smart? Now he wants to make the same sort of deal with Syria,who is just an Iranian proxy. Sure Egypt has not gone to war with Israel since signing the so called peace agreement but not because of the agreement but its fear of Israeli military superiority. Any agreements with Arabs (or Muslims) are worthless because honor is not part of their collective psyche.

    Do you know anybody in Israel that would like to revoke the peace treaties with both Egypt or Jordan? Jerry Have you ever fought in a war or lost a son or daughter in a war? No Natanyahu has not gone crazy. The crazy ones are those who would prefer a state of war over a state of peace.

  7. Bibi is smart. He is, prior to war, getting SYria to show its cards… either they are for peace or they are in IRan’s camp. IT is plain to see already but OBama needs more proof so Bibi is showing him.

    This time, when the ME erupts it will likely be the largest conflict since 1948 and 73. Hamas, Hiz, Syria and Iran will all be big losers.

  8. Netanyahu is an MIT graduate. You don’t get to be so without being VERY smart. So those who wonder if he is very smart or very stupid have their answer.

    I know what I’m talking about; I’m also an MIT graduate,.

  9. Caroline and Bibi:

    I can’t help noticing that Caroline Glick started out as an unrestrained chearleader for Netanyahu. She then became his apologist, rationalizing every move he took that appeared to be a leftwards turn.

    Most recently, she has come out strongly against him, and says he has indeed become a leftist Sharon wannabe.

    I believe she is fairly close to Bibi. I wonder what she knows that the rest of us are justs guessing at?

    From a distance of 5,000 miles from Israel, I just don’t see how Netanyahu can go against the right wing nature of his inner cabinet and his coalition. (But even I have been wrong once or twice before.)

    (For the sin of hubris which we have sinned before You, forgive us, pardon us from the punishment we deserve, and restore us to Your favor.)

  10. So we’ll see if Netanyahu is actually “crazy like a fox”, or not.

    Not crazy nor a fox by just your average run of the mill Jewish traitors.

  11. Has Netanyahu gone crazy? Does he think that Israel giving up the Sinai in exchange for a worthless piece of paper was so smart? Now he wants to make the same sort of deal with Syria,who is just an Iranian proxy. Sure Egypt has not gone to war with Israel since signing the so called peace agreement but not because of the agreement but its fear of Israeli military superiority. Any agreements with Arabs (or Muslims) are worthless because honor is not part of their collective psyche.

  12. I once heard a lecture by Gabriel Bat Dor who was on the negotiating team after the ’73 war. He explained Kissinger’s guile in getting the partys to reach an agreement. First he asked Syria to draw a line on a map of the land she wanted to control. Syria refused. He said any line so Assad drew a line close to Haifa. Kissinger then took the map to the Israelis who were incensed when they saw it. So Kissinger agreed with them that it was outrageous. He said draw your lin, any line. And so it went until the parties had an agreement.

  13. Syria will not make peace without the return of every inch. Even then they will not give any other concessions to get the land back. A leopard doesn’t change its spots. Syria has been pissed off since Palestine wasn’t included in the Syrian Mandate. Most of Israel is part of historical Syria.

    Syria has always lead the resistence and it will continue to do so. That’s who she is.

  14. Who is toying with whom and who is naive will be disclosed when the deadline for the freeze expires late Sept.

    Not necessarily. There may be other ways to reach the desired end, but your right that time will tell.

  15. Fistel:

    The likelihood that Netanyahu is toying with Obama:

    By my latest analysis, it is a pretty high probability that Netanyahu is toying with a naive Obama

    Who is toying with whom and who is naive will be disclosed when the deadline for the freeze expires late Sept.

  16. A peace deal between Israel And Syria would make a lot of sense for Israel’s overall interests.

    Syria has a population of 20 million and with a fairly stong military poses some real risks in the event of hostilities. Peace between the two nations would be a major setback for Iran and its proxies Hizbollah, and Hamas. What is a negative for this axis represents a major gain for Israel.

  17. The likelihood that Netanyahu is toying with Obama:

    By my latest analysis, it is a pretty high probability that Netanyahu is toying with a naive Obama.

    Netanyahu clearly plays a game of ambiguity, never himself saying what he believes or intends to do. He then uses Lieberman and Barak/Peres in a “good cop, bad cop” routine to make contradictory policy statements which keep everyone confused.

    The key is that Netanyahu wants to stay in power, and to keep his center-right coalition stable and intact. It is reported that he never makes a decision without the agreement of his inner cabinet. This is the so-called “septet”, which consists of Netanyahu plus six coalition members. The six are: Ehud Barak (secular center-left), Dan Meridor (secular Likud center left), Moshe Yaalon (secular Likud center right), Eli Yishai (religious Shas center right representing Rabbi Yoseph), Benny Begin (secular Likud right), and Avigdor Lieberman (secular right).

    So only two of the six are left, and four are right. That indicates to me that Netanyahu is actually a rightist and is only pretending to consider a leftist trend to confuse Obama and the Israeli leftist opposition.

    The predictions from this theorem are that when Netanyahu proposes Israeli concessions for peace, they will seem reasonable to Obama and the european goyim, but will in fact be totally unacceptable to the muslim savages.

    For example, that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state, just like arab states are muslim states, seems reasonable, but is totally unacceptable to the muslims. And that Israel withdraw on the Golan to the western ridge line seems to be a reasonable compromise, but is totally unacceptable to the Assad regime in Syria.

    So we’ll see if Netanyahu is actually “crazy like a fox”, or not.

  18. Narvey:

    Then again, if Syria is moved to hold the Golan in her heart only because it once was within Syrian territory, it strikes me that Syria might be moved by cultural objectives. That objective would be along the line that if land under Islamic domain is lost to Islam, Muslims are duty bound to bring it back into the Islamic fold

    Narvey, you gross ignorance is showing. As mentioned (logicom) in a previous post, Assad’s Syria is hardly an Islamic state. If you were an Islamist in Syria and you were to be found out,it would not be long before you would be a dead Islamist.

    The Hama massacre (Arabic: ????? ?????) occurred in February 1982, when the Syrian army bombarded the town of Hama in order to quell a revolt by the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood. An estimated 7,000 to 40,000 people were killed, including about 1,000 soldiers,[1] and large parts of the old city were destroyed. The attack has been described as possibly being “the single deadliest act by any Arab government against its own people in the modern Middle East

  19. Martel:

    The Democrats are toast this November. If the economy doesn’t improve dramatically, Obama is toast in 2012.

    If I were Netanyahu, I wouldn’t give Obama a dime in political capital.

    End the charade, NOW.

    After returning from a brief trip to Israel and taking having taken the political temperature, I can report that Bibi is hardly better off than Obama. There are lot of complaining on his lack of resolve on one side and the fear that the economic boon is ending.

  20. Beyond the rhetoric and posturing there are some important distinctions between Syria and the the other anti Israel partners.

    Syria is a secular state that is not holding a religious hatred for the Jews. The quarrel is mainly over real estate and nothing else.
    The Syrian rulers are members of the Alawite sect which has little in common with Iran’s brand of Shiism.

    When Syria had dominion over Lebanon, the Hizbollah militia were well controlled. Indeed it was no secret that Israel was not pleased when the Syrians left Lebanon. The original reason for Syrian invasion of Lebanon was to save the Christian minority from the onslaught of the Palestinians and the Shiites. The Syrians certainly did not side with Arafat but used the Palestinians as a pawn when it suited them.

    Contradictions betweeen Syria and Iran run deep. Whereas Iran has ruled out dealings with Israel and call for its destruction, Syria asserts its willingness to negotiate and should a peace deal be reached, normalize relations.

  21. Yonatan Netanyahu is turning over in his grave. Bibi should tell the illegal alien to make aliyah to Kenya. At this point the foreign occupier of the White House is on the ropes. Isn’t it time for Israel to stand tall and strong at this point? Especially that November and the elections in the U.S. may return the Congress to the (mostly) pro-Israel Republicans.

  22. The Democrats are toast this November. If the economy doesn’t improve dramatically, Obama is toast in 2012.

    If I were Netanyahu, I wouldn’t give Obama a dime in political capital.

    End the charade, NOW.

  23. Yamit and Ted, while Israel’s holding the Golan has been a stregic military land asset, (ie.a buffer and armed base to counter further Syrian aggression), has the Golan ever been developed by the Syrians beyond a military strategic land asset from which to fire on and attack Israel?

    If your answer is that Syria never developed the Golan to be anything more then a strategic military area, then why would Netanyahu offer to give back any of it?

    Netanyahu might just be playing a game to make an offer Syria will refuse and allow him to say to Obama that he tried.

    Syria is a larger country then Israel and doubtless has much more land to develop to her economic advantage.

    Then again, if Syria is moved to hold the Golan in her heart only because it once was within Syrian territory, it strikes me that Syria might be moved by cultural objectives. That objective would be along the line that if land under Islamic domain is lost to Islam, Muslims are duty bound to bring it back into the Islamic fold.

    I fear that Obama is playing and pushing Netanyahu in order that Obama can at least make one win for his policies, even if it is in foreign affairs, to crow about. If you share that view, we should hope and pray that while Netanyahu is prepared to play along and humour Obama, that he will not give anything away without equal payment of some tangible kind back.

    If either or both of you know the answer, I would appreciate hearing it.

  24. Uncle first of all we both know this Syrian government cannot be trusted and George Mitchell is a horses ass, an Arab with dreams of grandeur.

    An Arab is an Arab

    A good Arab is ….. Arab!

  25. . . . there is calm along the Israel-Syrian border, so what sense does this plan make? What purpose does it serve to surrender the Golan to Syria?

    If the deal is not going to happen, by design or not, what difference does sense or purpose make, other than getting people tight over nothing.

    This is probably mere political gaming. Save your emotions for the real stuff. It’s coming.

  26. As Yamit pointed out, there is calm along the Israel-Syrian border, so what sense does this plan make? What purpose does it serve to surrender the Golan to Syria?

  27. I once gave him credit for being smart. Guess that makes me dumb.

    Maybe not. If,

    Israelis would never accept this deal, [and Assad would never accept it either, and . . .] BB knows that.

    The deal is that BB probably gets something from the US for making the deal, which he knows is no deal. In doing so he keeps the status quo, plus, he keeps foreign busy-bodies off of his back for a little longer.

    One thing for sure, BB has proven he is really really smart, or really really dumb. He confuses almost everyone, which means he is good at what he does, or he is confused himself.

  28. ta’avir memshelet zah’don min ha’aretz.

    Savlanut, He’s digging his own political grave. I once gave him credit for being smart. Guess that makes me dumb.

  29. Uncle first of all we both know this Syrian government cannot be trusted and George Mitchell is a horses ass, an Arab with dreams of grandeur.

    Dealing with Syria and tenant Hezbollah both proxies for Iran, you might as well deal with the devil.

    Isn’t Gaza still fresh in the memory or has it been forgotten. Don’t give anything.