Speculation that an Israel-Syria peace treaty could cost up to $65 billion was brushed aside by Sen. Arlen Specter following a trip to Israel, but the Pennsylvania Republican said a way would be found to come up with the necessary funding from a host of nations.
In addition to wanting to get back the Golan Heights, Syrian President Hafez Assad also is hoping that normalized relations with Israel will help improve the faltering Syrian economy —and Israeli officials already are preparing for that.
“We are mapping the Syrian economy to see what kind of trade avenues could be opened,” said Reuven Horesh, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Moshe Maoz, a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University and former director of the Harry S Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace in Tel Aviv, is a recognized expert on Syria and Lebanon. Maoz, 64, and the father of two, lives with his wife in Jerusalem. He was interviewed while visiting New York as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright prepared for her visit this week to Damascus.
Daniel Elazar, an authority on — and sometimes critic of — the Jewish community, died Dec. 2 of lymphoma in his Jerusalem home. He was 65. Professor Elazar, a Minneapolis-born scholar, made aliyah in the 1970s, subsequently splitting his time between Israel and Philadelphia, where he served as director of Temple University’s Center for the Study of Federalism.
The author of more than 70 books and 700 articles, he is best known for “Community and Polity,” his 1995 book on the American Jewish community.
Noting that foreign investment in Israel doubled following peace conferences in 1991 and again in 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said he is determined to double it again — “possibly in this very decade” — as a result of a new momentum generated in the peace process.
Even as formal talks began this week to develop a framework for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, there were growing indications that the real breakthroughs would come in direct talks between Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasir Arafat and their back-channel emissaries.
At the same time, there was a renewed push to resume peace talks between Israel and Syria, with France acting as the catalyst with tacit American approval. The two sides have not spoken since negotiations broke down in 1996.