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Israeli-Syrian relations: A timeline


NEW YORK, Dec. 13 (JTA) — Following is a timeline of key events in Israeli-Syrian relations:

November 1947 — Syria opposes the U.N. General Assembly’s partition plan envisaging Jewish and Palestinian states existing side by side.

May 1948 — Syria and other Arab armies invade when the State of Israel is proclaimed.

July 1949 — Israel and Syria sign armistice agreement, but sporadic hostilities continue.

1951-1956 — Syria and other Arab states give financial aid and refuge to Palestinian terrorist groups, or fedayeen, who launch repeated raids on Israeli targets.

June 1967 — Israel captures the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six-Day War.

October 1970 — Hafez Assad launches a coup and seizes control of Syria.

October 1973 — Syria joins Egypt in a surprise war on Israel. Syrians penetrate deep into the Golan before being pushed back by Israeli troops.

May 1974 — An Israeli-Syrian disengagement agreement is reached through the mediation of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. A U.N. observer force takes up position in a buffer zone on the Golan Heights.

December 1981 — Israeli law is extended to the Golan Heights.

October 1991 — Israel and Syria attend the U.S.-brokered Madrid conference aimed at achieving a comprehensive Middle East peace.

July 1992 — Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin vows to accelerate peace moves with Israel’s Arab neighbors.

1993-1994 — As Israel and the Palestinians make progress in the Oslo process, Israeli-Syrian negotiations become bogged down amid Syrian demands that Israel withdraw completely from the Golan Heights as part of any peace deal. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher makes repeated shuttle visits to Jerusalem and Damascus in efforts to advance the talks.

June 27-29, 1995 — Israeli-Syrian military negotiators meet in Washington for another round of inconclusive talks.

Dec. 27, 1995-Feb. 28, 1996 — Israeli-Syrian delegations hold a series of talks at the Wye Plantation in eastern Maryland. The secluded setting is chosen in hopes the two sides could make progress far from the reach of reporters.

March 4, 1996 — Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres suspends the negotiations when Assad fails to condemn a series of Hamas terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

May 1999 — Ehud Barak, a former negotiator in Israeli-Syrian talks, is elected Israeli prime minister.

June 1999 — Assad heaps unexpected praise on Barak, calling him a “strong and honest” leader who wants peace with Syria.

July 1999 — Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discloses that he had several indirect contacts with Assad during his three years in office. He adds that no agreement was reached because he refused to accept Syrian demands for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan as the price for peace.

Dec. 8, 1999 — After U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright holds separate meetings with Assad and Barak, President Clinton announces that Israel and Syria have agreed to resume peace talks.

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