Obama Supports Israeli-Syria Talks

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama supports Israel's current indirect negotiations with Syria, according to a statement sent via e-mail to The Jerusalem Post.

Israel is quickly becoming a cornerstone of Obama's foreign policy, and his campaign issued the statement after the secret negotiations were unexpectedly announced Wednesday.

The US is not directly involved with the negotiations, which analysts say is one possible reason Obama chose to announce his support. Obama believes that the discussions show the ability of Israel to broker peace on its own terms, contrary to remarks made by President Bush and fellow candidates Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

For the discussions to succeed in achieving true peace, Syria's President Bashar Assad will demand Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights region in northern Israel. Thus, Obama's support might contradict other statements that stress his firm commitment to Israel.

"There is not a single trace of me ever being anything more than a friend of Israel and a friend of the Jewish people," Obama told Jewish rally-goers at the B'Nai Torah Congregation yesterday.

Yet polls from the Geo-Cartographic Institute also released Thursday showed that 65 percent of Israelis are against a full withdrawal from the Golan even if it does lead to peace, while 64 percent are also against a partial withdrawal from the Golan region.

Obama's statement included brief remarks on Syria's support of terrorist organizations and its relationship with Iran.

"We should have no illusions that success will come easily, as difficult issues like Syria's support of terrorist organizations that threaten Israel must be confronted," Obama said.

Those remarks may be in response to the recent linking of Obama to pro-Palestinian supporters and comments about meeting with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post

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