Tuesday, January 16

Jerusalem of Gold and Blue (Original Photo)

Jerusalem of Blue and Gold
Looking north to Jerusalem, from the capital's southernmost neighborhood, Gilo. I shot
this photograph with a cellphone camera, and then tweaked it in Photoshop to get that
"painted" look.

Jerusalem of Blue and Gold II
Same idea, different effect. This one from a skyline promenade.

More photos are here.


Israel, Syria deny 'peace talks'

From The Jerusalem Post:

Israel and Syria both issued vehement denials on Tuesday to a report
that there had been secret agreements between the two countries during former prime minister Ariel Sharon's term as prime minister.

David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, said that "the Israeli government is unaware of any such meetings."

The Syrian Foreign Ministry also denied the reports. "That there were no contacts and the report is totally false," said a statement released by the ministry.

Meanwhile, Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka (National Democratic Assembly), who visited Syria about four months ago, told Ynet that the Haaretz report that Israeli and Syrian representatives held talks for two years and formulated a document of understandings for a peace agreement between the two countries was "a virtual agreement of academics."

According to the MK, to the best of his knowledge no direct or indirect talks were being held between
Israel and Syria.

What's more, Meir Dagan, chief of the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, confirmed Syria's arms ramp-up last month, saying that the dictator-led Arab nation to Israel northeast has exhibited no signs of desiring peace with Israel.

"Israel's military deterrence was damaged in the [Second Lebanon] war. Therefore, Assad's self-confidence grew. They are prepared to take more risks than in the past," Dagan said.
I am currently (14:30 IST) uploading to YouTube an exclusive interview with Dr. Eran Lerman, former IDF Intelligence Dep. Chief of Strategic Planning about the reputed "non-paper" talks between Israel and Syria. Lerman also takes a look forward to possible regional developments with Iran. I will embed the report soon, so come back soon and refresh this page to watch.

More on this report here.

BREAKING: Israel-Syria cut secret peace deal (UPDATED)

Both Israeli and Syrian officials have strongly denied the following report. Go here for more.

Haaretz is reporting:
In a series of secret meetings in Europe between September 2004 and July 2006, Syrians and Israelis formulated understandings for a peace agreement between Israel and Syria.

The main points of the understandings are as follows:

  • An agreement of principles will be signed between the two countries, and following the fulfillment of all commitments, a peace agreement will be signed.

  • As part of the agreement on principles, Israel will withdraw from the Golan Heights to the lines of 4 June, 1967. The timetable for the withdrawal remained open: Syria demanded the pullout be carried out over a five-year period, while Israel asked for the withdrawal to be spread out over 15 years.

  • At the buffer zone, along Lake Kinneret, a park will be set up for joint use by Israelis and Syrians. The park will cover a significant portion of the Golan Heights. Israelis will be free to access the park and their presence will not be dependent on Syrian approval. More details here.
  • Text of draft.


    Northern Israel
    Israel: Northern Hula Valley, looking east towards Golan Heights. (Photo: Dave Bender)
    Sea of Galilee
    Israel: Eastern bank of Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), looking west
    towards Tiberias, Arbel areas. (Photo: Dave Bender)


    Web Israel At Level Ground