Syria

Analysis: War talk reveals Israeli fear of a Syrian front

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 11, 2010

Thousands of Israelis flocked last week to the Golan Heights to enjoy the first major snowfall of the year, but not all of them returned home safe and sound. One family, eager to slide down a pristine white hillside, inadvertently entered a minefield and two of its children stepped on anti-personnel mines. A boy lost his foot and his sister sustained extensive shrapnel wounds.

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Syria and Israel may restart talks

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 17, 2009

Israel and Syria are inching back to the negotiation table, although both sides are still not quite ready to sit down. In a number of statements in recent weeks, leaders and senior officials of both countries have indicated that they are open to resume talks that took place while Olmert was prime minister.

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Anger as M&S serves Syria but not Israel

By Marcus Dysch, October 29, 2009

Marks & Spencer has been criticised for excluding Israel from its online international delivery scheme, despite the service being on offer to shoppers in Libya, Syria and Lebanon.

The company has received complaints from disappointed Israelis, but this week declined to explain its reasons for not delivering to the Jewish state.

Earlier this month, M&S expanded its online delivery service to cover 80 countries, offering millions of British expatriates and overseas customers the chance to order from abroad.

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Syrian ambassador: 'It's illegal to talk to Israelis'

By Bernard Josephs, October 22, 2009

As a journalist you know you are not going to get anywhere when an ambassador, shepherded by dark-suited aides, refuses to say anything — except that he won’t speak to you.

What seemed to worry Syrian Ambassador to Britain Dr Sami Khiyami was not that I might misquote him, but that I might have Israeli blood coursing through my veins.

Whether he was anxious to follow orders from Damascus is a moot point. But he made it clear that polite, or any sort of conversation, with even the most ordinary of Israeli citizens, was for His Excellency, simply a step too far.

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Syrian missile test fails, killing 20

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 20, 2009

Reports of a major failure in a missile firing test in Syria has drawn attention once more to the military co-operation between North Korea, Iran and Syria.

According to the report by the Japanese news agency Kyodo, two improved Scud missiles were fired in a test at the end of March. Both missiles veered off-course, and one of them landed in a marketplace in a town near the Turkish border, killing 20 people and wounding 60.

North Korean and Iranian experts reportedly participated in the trials.

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Give back Golan Heights, says minister

By Leon Symons, August 6, 2009

British Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis has called for Israel to give back the Golan Heights as part of a peace settlement with Syria.

Mr Lewis, on his first visit to the Middle East, made the call during a press conference in the Syrian capital Damascus after talks with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and his deputy.

Mr Lewis, who is Jewish and the MP for Bury South, said: “We think that there is now a very important opportunity for one of the world’s great conflicts to begin to come to an end.”

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Israeli leaders ‘satisfied’ with Miliband’s pressure on Syria

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 20, 2008

Israeli leaders have expressed their satisfaction with the results of Foreign Secretary David Miliband's visit to the Middle East this week.

They were especially pleased that the Foreign Secretary demanded the Syrians act to prevent the arms deliveries from Iran to Hizbollah being transferred through their territory.

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Miliband in Mid-East diplomacy drive

By Bernard Josephs and Anshel Pfeffer, November 6, 2008

Talks with Syria and the Palestinian Authority will be high on the agenda during Foreign Secretary David Miliband's visit to Israel in 10 days' time. Mr Miliband will be reporting to his Israeli counterparts on his meeting last week with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

Mr Miliband will be travelling to Israel during its election season, and in addition to meeting outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, he will also be sounding out Defence Minister Ehud Barak of Labour and Likud's Binyamin Netanyahu.

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Legal delay scuppers Syria peace talks

September 19, 2008

A round of indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria scheduled to take place in Turkey this week was cancelled with just one day's notice because the key Israeli negotiator had yet to receive legal approval to participate in the talks.

The cause, government officials said, was the delay in receiving legal approval for Yoram Turbowicz, until last month Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's chief of staff, to continue leading the Israeli delegation.

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Paris welcomes Assad — but Syrian leader snubs Olmert

By Shirli Sitbon, July 18, 2008

Syrian leader Bashar Assad was a controversial guest of honour at France’s Bastille Day celebrations — and snubbed his fellow guest, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Mr Assad was among more than 40 heads of state at Sunday’s launch of the Union for the Mediterranean, a French initiative to bring together the 27 states of the EU with the Balkans and their Arab neighbours.

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