We never wanted anything from you but good neighborly relations when we established our state in accordance with a U.N. majority decision.

Instead, we were obliged to fight three wars, two started by you (1948 and 1973) and one provoked by you (1967). In all these, you were soundly defeated. In the first, you failed in your objective of preventing the establishment of the Jewish State. You succeeded only in preventing the establishment of the Palestinian state - a dubious success. This succession of your defeats was compounded by the defeat in the cold war of the Soviet Union, leaving you with no patron or protector and a legacy of hate and fear with the free world.

We did not take advantage of this, as we might have done, because we still want nothing but good relations with our northern neighbors. So we responded gladly - under previous prime ministers and the present one - to suggestions for a "peace of the brave".

What you have given us is not a peace of the brave but a war of cowards, waged by proxies, while you sit safely at home, trusting our decency and moderation. Your Hezbollah proxies wage hit-and-run warfare, using innocent Palestinian and Lebanese civilians both as shields and as sacrificial victims.

Your logic is no better that your strategy or your morality. One may, or one may not, acquire territory by conquest. If one may not, your claim to the eastern shore-line of the Sea of Galilee is illegal; if one may, then your claim, after three defeats, is absurd. It is becoming painfully clear that, like other dictators, you are incapable of understanding the political processes of a democracy: of understanding -- still less of making -- a generous and humane gesture. You have demonstrated this in the surly bad manners of your diplomatic representatives, in the vicious and neurotic calumnies that fill your state-controlled press, and in your political behavior at home and abroad. When we approached you with courtesy, you responded with insults.

The same qualities appear in your treatment of your Lebanese neighbors, whose lands you have occupied, tyrannized, exploited, without a shadow of justification, and -- perhaps worst of all -- in your treatment of your own people, resulting in poverty and intellectual stagnation that you have inflicted on a once great and still gifted nation.

Through its long and glorious history, the Syrian nation has esteemed courage and honor, courtesy and intelligence. You have made your country - or rather your regime - a by-word for cowardice and trickery, boorishness and stupidity.

All this obligates us to undertake a thorough and painful reappraisal of our policies towards you, and notably of the methods which we must use to convey our meaning to you.

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