Syria: Israeli lawmaker says rebels want to ‘be friends’


Israeli opposition lawmaker Isaac Herzog said today that factions in the Syrian uprising seek peace with his country, according to The Associated Press.

Herzog, son of the late former president Chaim Herzog and a member of the Labor Party serving in Israel’s Knesset, said he had been in contact with the Syrian opposition but there was no immediate confirmation from its members.

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Like its predecessor under Hafez al-Assad, the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a bitter enemy of Jerusalem, has fought wars against the Jewish State and sponsors organizations which attack Israel and Israelis.

The AP said Herzog, a member of the Knesset committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense, had said today that the Syrian opposition want to “be friends” with Israel and called for Israel to provide them medical assistance but not weapons. The news agency said he refused to name his interlocutors to protect them from retribution by the Syrian regime but claimed they were allies of the main rebel factions.

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The AP also reported that US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met today in Washington with Israeli Defense Minsiter Ehud Barak to discuss events in Iran and Syria.

The discussions were to concern the possibility of a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran, according to the AP, which said Israel has told the US it will not offer advance warning of such a strike.

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