Statements of peace made by democratic leaders are taken at their face value because they resonate with the respect we all share for the Rule of Law in a civilized environment. However, statements of peace made by violent men who have no respect for laws and mankind should make you squirm.
Bashar al-Assad, in response to the overtures for peace negotiations without any pre-conditions offered by the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said: "The failure of the peace process so far has clearly shown that Israel is the obstacle How can a state that was founded on illegal occupation and continues to murder the original inhabitants work toward peace?"
Regardless of whether we agree with that statement or not, our interests lie in seeing a free Syria before we see a free Palestine.
When it comes to Syria, Assad has occupied the whole country illegally and Assad continues to murder any of its inhabitants at will. This after using torture against the innocent and the hapless. For him to rhetorically accuse others of what his family has been practicing against 20 million Syrians for over 45 years must be highlighted internationally, the way he highlights his fake support for Palestinians. He is more than happy to kill and terrorize when it suits his interests.
In his opening speech to all 57 foreign ministers of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference), Assad did not miss the opportunity to stir extremism by claiming that "Israel is the Obstacle to Peace" and that peace must include regaining Arab lands occupied by Israel. Never mind that the peace Assad seeks has but one goal: To re-occupy Lebanon; and never mind that all of Syria is occupied by Assad. Before we free the Golan Heights from Israel, Syrians must free the Syrian government from the Ba'ath Party. Before we free Palestine from Israel, Syrians must free all of Syria from the Assad family.
It behooves the Israeli prime minister to call Assad on his latest statements so that it can resonate genuinely in Syria the way Assad resonates fraudulently in the Palestinian Territories. If Assad wants peace, let him make peace with his people first. War is a combination of weapons and words; Israel has yet to use words to console Syrians, for both of our interests, and catch Assad off-guard.
Assad further stated: "How can a country that has chosen the most extreme government in its history be a partner for peace?" Our question is "Would Israelis have chosen a government to protect them when you chose to arm Hamas and create a ghost town out of Sderot?." But then, Assad wants Israel to engage in extreme politics because that is the only way he can take the podium to make statements against a peace certain to remove him from power.
The new Israeli government must vocalize what is too obvious for Syrians. Assad's propaganda captures the imagination of ignorant Arabs against Israel and surprisingly, Israel's propaganda is mute when it comes to capturing the Syrian imagination against the miserable lives they live under the Assad rule. It is not too late, Israeli prime minister can make an appearance on al-Arabiya for a direct message to the Syrian people in response to occupation and peace.