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Israel could give up Golan

Last updated: 2004-08-15

Moshe Yaalon

Moshe Yaalon

Israel's army chief says that his country could give up the territory it holds in the Golan Heights in order to reach a peace agreement with Syria, without serious consequences for the Jewish state's ability to defend itself.

In an interview published Friday in an Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, General Moshe Yaalon says the army is capable of defending all of Israel's borders if the nations political leaders decide to withdraw from the Golan, which was captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, but the international community generally considers the strategic plateau to be Israeli-occupied Syrian territory. Israel has long argued that giving up the Golan would leave northern Israel vulnerable to attack.

Peace talks between Israel and Syria four years ago collapsed when Syria insisted that Israel pull back to the pre-war frontier. Israel insists that Damascus must first end its support for Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and radical Palestinians based in Syria.

Story supplied by: VOAnews