Monday, April 28, 2008

Boys, boys, please ...

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu-Olmert Spat Over Who First Offered to Give Up Golan

The battle for public opinion is heating up over who has the moral high ground on the issue of whether there was ever an offer to cede the Golan Heights to Syria after the region was annexed by the State of Israel in 1981.

Knesset Opposition leader and Likud Party Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu denied accusations by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday that he had offered the Golan to then-Syrian President Hafez el-Assad during Netanyahu's reign as Prime Minister.

"Olmert is trying to delude the public, but the opposite of what he says is true," stated Netanyahu's bureau. "Netanyahu insisted on staying in the Golan Heights and that was why the talks were stopped. Netanyahu stood up for the principles of security and reciprocity and brought security back to the citizens of Israel."

The bureau added in its statement, "It is ridiculous to hear moralizing sermons from the serial compromiser Olmert, whose unilateral concessions hurt Israel's security."

The Prime Minister's Office fired back, saying "Mr. Netanyahu's memory should be refreshed. It was he who sent an American businessman [Ron Lauder] to the elder Assad in order to cede the Golan Heights in the name of the Israeli people, even before any negotiations had begun."

Olmert's bureau added that Netanyahu "is not the man to teach the Israeli government about responsibility and good judgment."

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