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News Israel - Syria: Turkish-mediated talks bring Golan Heights and water issues back to the table

Israel and Syria started holding indirect peace talks in Istanbul through Turkish mediators at the end of May 2008. Peace with Syria would require Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 war. While the first round of discussions were of a general nature, Arab media reports suggest that the next round of talks starting in June 2008 would focus on the details of four separate issues of a possible peace accord: borders, security aspects, water and normalisation.
"The key issue between Israel and Syria is first and foremost the strategic importance, from an Israeli perspective, of the Golan Heights", said David Newman, a Professor of Political Geography and a Senior Research Fellow at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. "Second most important issue is the water issue, because much of Israel's water sources are in a region of scarce water, and it's coming in from the Golan, and there's no question that Israel would want to negotiate a very serious water-sharing agreement or some sort of water agreement with Syria if the Golan Heights were to be returned as part of an agreement", Newman added.

See also:
 * Wyre Davies, Water crucial to Golan talks, BBC
   [], 06 Jun 2008
 * David Eshel, Syria's price tag: Israel's water resources, Defense Update
   [], 29 Dec 2006

Contact information (email: ;
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information Real New Network [], 22 May 2008 ; Mark Weiss, Jerusalem Post [], 10 Jun 2008
Geographical coverage Israel, Turkey, Syria
News date 13/06/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH