John McCain and George (I won't negotiate with the enemy) Bush have been attacking Barack Obama for advocating negotiations with Iran. Now it turns out Israel, and their archenemy Syria are talking, in secret. Maybe because it makes the anti-appeasement crowd (people like Bush and McCain) look bad:
Israel and Syria have begun indirect peace talks, mediated by Turkey, aimed at reaching a comprehensive peace accord, the three governments announced in a coordinated statement Wednesday. The announcement is the first public confirmation of the negotiations by all three sides.
The two most senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office have been leading the Israeli negotiations and were in Ankara, the Turkish capital, on Wednesday, talking through Turkish mediators to their Syrian counterparts, Mr. Olmert’s office said.
Turkey is a close ally of the United States. It is also Syria’s neighbor and has an interest in securing regional peace. A senior official in Mr. Olmert’s office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the talks with Syria and the decision to make them public had been coordinated with American officials.
The statement is official confirmation of what was widely suspected to be ongoing contact between Syria and Israel, directed by Turkey. In the past months, Israel had been reluctant to make the negotiations public. But the negotiations now seem to have made enough progress that all sides decided they should acknowledge the meetings.
“The two sides stated their intention to conduct these talks in good faith and with an open mind,” a statement from Mr. Olmert’s office said, referring to Israel and Syria.
And don't kid yourself into thinking that the Bush administration wasn't supportive of these
London-based pan-Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported Saturday that the United States government had changed its position on negotiations between Israel and Syria. The report said an Israeli source revealed that the US government had recently requested that Turkey promote talks between Israel and Syria.
According to Al-Hayat, this change of stance came in light of recent violence in Lebanon, and was based on the assumption that peace with Syria would help distance Damascus from Hizbullah.
According to the sources, the US has hinted to Israel more than once that, contrary to the country's previously stated position, it would be interested in taking part in dialogue between Israel and Syria.
The source, who reportedly met with members of US President George W. Bush's entourage, asserted that it was not by coincidence that both Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not mention Syria in any of their speeches.
Can someone in the press please ask Bush--why if Israel is negotiating with Syria why can't we talk to Iran.