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Israel is indeed making the effort

July 09, 2007

Re "The guns of August?" editorial, July 5

The editorial raises appropriate concerns that Syria's arms buildup may foreshadow an attack on Israel. But the piece incorrectly suggests that Israel has not tried to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

It was widely reported in the Israeli media that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has sent several messages through German and Turkish interlocutors to Syria conveying his willingness to cede the Golan Heights in return for full peace and an end to Syrian support for Hamas, Hezbollah and other extremist groups. Olmert has reportedly received no response from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Syria's role in orchestrating numerous assassinations of reform-minded leaders in Lebanon in recent years further suggests it cannot be trusted. Nevertheless, Israel has made clear its willingness to take tremendous risks for peace. It is Syria that has repeatedly spurned Israel's efforts to achieve peace.

STEPHEN A. SILVER

Walnut Creek

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