Motorists driving along the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway Tuesday morning were surprised and dismayed to see Syrian flags flying alongside Israeli flags as they made the ascent to the capital.
The red, white and black Syrian flag was placed on poles between the Shaar HaGai intersection and the government complex by left-wing Peace Now members. By hanging the colors of the enemy state, Peace Now wished to draw attention to its desire for government talks with Syria.
Nadia Matar, co-founder of the grassroots Women in Green organization, said that Peace Now has thus shown its true face. "I call upon the authorities to gather the Peace Now leadership," Matar said, "put them on buses, and send them to Syria, where they belong and where they will be welcomed happily."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke with an Arabic newspaper on Monday and made a direct plea to Syrian President Bashar Assad to agree to direct, unmediated peace talks with Israel. "I turn to you, Mr. Assad, and call upon you to engage in direct peace negotiations - but you prefer American mediation," Olmert said. Menachem Begin tendered a similar invitation to Anwar Sadat - who wound up receiving the entire Sinai desert in less than five years.
In 1977, then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin tendered a similar, though less biting, invitation to then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat - who took up the gauntlet and wound up receiving the entire Sinai desert within less than five years.
Hevron activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir filed a complaint with the police against Peace Now. They similarly claimed that as Syria is an enemy state, it is illegal to unfurl the country's flag in public.
Nadia Matar said that Peace Now is actually calling not for peace talks but for a surrender to Syrian demands to immediately give up the Golan Heights. "I call upon the Attorney General to view this as an act of treachery and betrayal," she said. "Those who act to give up Israeli territory to the enemy is, by law, a traitor."
Israel took control of the Golan Heights in the Six Day War of 1967, after the Syrians used the area for years to shell Israeli kibbutzim below. Since then, the Syrian border has always been Israel's quietest. In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan.
In early 1999, the Knesset voted that no part of the Golan or Jerusalem may be transferred to a foreign power without an absolute majority of 61 Knesset Members and a popular referendum in accordance with a to-be-legislated Referendum Law. In May of this year, the Knesset voted, in a preliminary reading, to require the referendum even before such a Referendum Law is legislated.
"Israelis must realize that Peace Now is collaborating with the enemy," Matar said "and this organization must be outlawed. It is ridiculous that the Kach movement [originally founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane - ed.], which calls for love of Israel, is outlawed, while those who collaborate with the Palestinians and inform on Jews are legal."
Peace Now is dedicated to destroying the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria [Yesha], and often seeks out Arabs who will claim that Jewish towns are built on their land. The PA news agency Ma'an recently thanked Peace Now for publishing a report alleging that 40% of Yesha communities are built on private Arab land. The Yesha Council published a factual rebuttal of the report, but this did not stop Ma'an from writing, "This is now a 'ready-to-go' case for the International Court... Now that Peace Now has given this gift to the land-owners, we must thank this organization..."