Monday, May 28, 2018

Israel and Syria talking peace

JERUSALEM — Israel and Syria announced Wednesday that they were engaged in negotiations for a comprehensive peace treaty through Turkish mediators, a sign that Israel is hoping to halt the growing influence of Iran, Syria's most important ally, which sponsors the anti-Israel groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

Senior Israeli officials from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office and their Syrian counterparts were in Istanbul, where both groups had been staying separately, at undisclosed locations, since Monday. The mediators shuttled between the two. Syria and Israel have not negotiated as seriously in eight years.

Syria's motives are clear: It wants to regain the Golan Heights captured by Israel in the 1967 war and to re-establish a relationship with the United States, something it figures it can do through talks with Jerusalem.

For Israel — which has watched the Palestinian group Hamas take over Gaza and gain ground in the West Bank, and the Lebanese group Hezbollah display raw power in Beirut, Lebanon, in recent weeks — an effort to pull Syria away from Iran could produce enormous benefits.

An announcement on Wednesday of a peace deal that gives Hezbollah the upper hand in Lebanon's government probably added to Israel's sense of urgency on the issue.

The American government opposed Israeli-Syrian negotiations because they feared that such a negotiation would reward Syria at a time when the United States is seeking to isolate it for its backing of Hezbollah and its meddling in Lebanon, Bush administration and Israeli officials said. The United States yielded when it became clear that Israel was determined to go ahead, they said.

Turkey, a Muslim country and member of NATO, is a close ally of the United States. It is also Syria's neighbor and has an interest in securing regional peace.

Comments
Live Coverage: Alberto bears down on Florida Panhandle

Live Coverage: Alberto bears down on Florida Panhandle

The storm is producing dangerous rip currents and high tides across Tampa on its way to a projected landfall in northwest Florida as early as Monday afternoon.
Updated: 2 minutes ago
PolitiFact Florida: Did Adam Putnam oppose putting troops on the border using the National Guard?

PolitiFact Florida: Did Adam Putnam oppose putting troops on the border using the National Guard?

In Florida’s Republican primary for governor, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis challenged Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s credibility on illegal immigration.DeSantis cast Putnam as not being conservative enough on immigration in a chat May 2 with radio ...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Hillsborough’s film incentive has attracted $1.17 million in local spending, audits show

Hillsborough’s film incentive has attracted $1.17 million in local spending, audits show

TAMPA — When Steve Matzkin agreed to serve as executive producer on a movie project titled Not Alone, he set a condition: It had to be made in Tampa.For starters, the community is a fitting backdrop for the independent horror film about a family who ...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Unflinching sentinel stood and walked to honor the fallen at Arlington’s tomb

Unflinching sentinel stood and walked to honor the fallen at Arlington’s tomb

Monday morning, thousands of people will make their way to Arlington National Cemetery for the Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Many more will watch on TV.The cube-shaped marble monument high on a grassy hill is...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Alberto takes aim on Panhandle; how local Starbucks handle trespassing; Arlington National Cemetery’s Sentinels; Shania Twain here this week

The Daystarter: Alberto takes aim on Panhandle; how local Starbucks handle trespassing; Arlington National Cemetery’s Sentinels; Shania Twain here this week

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• As Subtropical Storm Alberto continues on its north-northwest track to the Panhandle, today’s forecast for Tampa Bay calls for scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms, accordi...
Updated: 14 minutes ago

Dubai's port operator DP World expands operations in Peru

Dubai's DP World completes $316 million deal to acquire Peruvian container firm, stake in country's key terminal
Updated: 1 hour ago

Syrian government vows to fight rebels despite US warning

Syrian state-run paper dismisses US warning against new offensive by President Assad's forces in southern province
Updated: 1 hour ago

Pakistan picks former chief justice as caretaker premier

Pakistan's ruling party and the opposition select former chief justice as caretaker prime minister in interim period
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Heavy rain, floods hit parts of UK

The Latest: Heavy rain, floods hit parts of UK

Heavy rains and storms have produced flooding in the English city of Birmingham and other parts of the country
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 5:15 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 5:15 a.m. EDT
Updated: 2 hours ago