In a previous article about founder and leader of the National Salvation Front of Syria, Fahad Almasri, I wrote that I was unable to find an online copy of the organization’s Roadmap for Syrian-Israeli peace. Within a short time, an email from Almasri himself was waiting to be discovered in my spam folder. Almasri had been kind enough to send me the roadmap for peace and to give me permission to publish it here.
I am not going to editorialize right now, nor engage in critiquing the document, as I want it to stand on its own for each reader to judge it on its merits or demerits as he or she understands the context, the history and the national goals of each of us – Israelis and Syrians. I also take it to be an opening move, subject to refinement and modifications based on bilateral negotiations when the time for that will be appropriate (if and when Almasri succeeds in ousting Assad and taking the reins of the country into his own hands).
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The Roadmap for Peace Between Syria and Israel
Further to the open letter addressed by National Salvation Front in Syria to the Israeli people last month, we are pleased to offer our vision for the future of the relationship between Israel and Syria, especially our goal that Syria remain outside all regional conflicts and to build a relationship based on the culture of peace and oriented toward development.
Security and stability of the State of Israel:
- The new Syria will not be hostile in any way to the State of Israel nor to any State in the region, or around the globe.
- The new Syria will not serve under any circumstances as a base or a transit station, nor will it support or be the site of a training center for terrorism or extremism.
- The new Syria will not provide any facilities nor provide a foothold for any armed groups or military, nor will it allow acts of sabotage targeting the security and safety of Israel or any other neighboring country.
- The new Syria will not be a safe haven for anyone who targets the security and stability of Israel, or regional or international security and stability.
- The security and stability of Israel is necessarily linked to the departure of Assad and his regime and to the return of security and stability to Syria in the presence of a strong authority over the post-Assad state in Damascus.
- Overcoming the chaos, extremism and terrorism requires the establishment of a military regime to govern during the transitional period.
- The transitional phase requires the support of conjoint Arab and Turkish forces under the auspices and supervision of the United Nations to serve as deterrence.
- Palestinian refugees in Syria will become Naturalized Syrian citizens.
- Palestinian refugee camps in Syria will be changed to residential areas.
- All Palestinian groups on Syrian territory will be disarmed.
- All Palestinian organization activities are prohibited on Syrian territory, in particular the terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
- All Palestinian political organizations on Syrian territory are to be dissolved and prohibited from continuing their operations.
- The diplomatic mission of the Palestinian Authority is only body recognized as the official and legitimate Palestinian representative.
- The new relationship between Syria and the Palestinians will be established with the recognized legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
Iran and its Proxies:
- All Iranian experts and military and security officers will be expelled from Syria.
- All Iranian militias operating under the auspices of Iran, such as Hezbollah and the Iraqi and Afghan militias and others, will be expelled from Syria.
- All Iranian diplomats will be expelled and the Iranian embassy and Iranian cultural centers will be closed.
- All associations and organizations established in Syria by Iran will be closed and banned from the country.
- Syrian citizenship of all Iranians, Iraqis, Lebanese and others granted by the Assad regime since 2003 will be revoked.
- All real estate properties that Iran either purchased or obtained by force will be considered Syrian property and will be repossessed by the state.
- Legal action will be taken against Iran and all its affiliated organizations to demand financial compensation for their participation in the war against the Syrian people and for the destruction of Syria.
- All agreements and treaties signed between the Assad regime and the Iranian regime will be revoked and the new Syrian state will not assume any obligations as a result of cancelling of these agreements and treaties.
- All Iranian economic investments in Syria will be confiscated and made the property of the new Syria as part of the compensation to be paid by Iran consequential to their participation in the war against the Syrian people and the destruction of Syria.
- Prohibition of Hezbollah activity as well as the activities of all of Iran’s militia on Syrian soil. These militia will be considered to be terrorist organizations.
- Transfer of arms through Syrian territory to Lebanon is banned and all secret tunnels will be destroyed.
- The Lebanese state bears full legal responsibility for the participation of Hezbollah in fighting against the Syrian people and the targeting of Syrian territory from Lebanese territory; Hezbollah is regarded as a ruling partner in Lebanon.
- Iraq bears full legal responsibility for the participation of extremist sectarian Iraqi militias in fighting against the Syrian people and the targeting of Syrian territory from Iraqi territory.
- The entry of Iranian citizens onto Syrian soil is banned, whether this is for religious or economic or other reasons,at least for the duration of the transitional period.
The Golan and Israeli peace:
Proceeding from Rabin’s peace proposal and the Arab peace initiative:
- We recognize the state of Israel and we welcome Israel as our neighbour with the right to live in peace in total security and stability; we are prepared to offer any international guarantees requested by the Israeli people in order for them to live in security and safety, peace and stability as a nation.
- We will work toward building a new historic stage in the relationship between Syria and Israel, based on a culture of peace and cooperation and seeing an end to the era of slogans and lies.
- We seek a fair solution on the Golan issue that will be satisfactory for both the Syrian and Israeli peoples.
- We anticipate a total transformation in the relationship between Syria and Israel — from hostility to a strategic alliance based upon friendship and cooperation.
- We consider the Golan Heights to be a potential garden of peace for the two peoples of Syria and Israel.
- We consider the Golan Heights to be a potential oasis of security and safety.
- All citizens in the Golan Heights will be ambassadors of peace, coexistence and rapprochement between the two peoples, possible and acceptable upon international recognition of Israel.
- The Golan Heights will be an oasis of investment projects, economic interactions, bilateral cooperation and an attractive tourist attraction in the Middle East.
- Mutually beneficial relations will ensue and there will be military and security cooperation, and conjoint economic, cultural, scientific and social developments.
- We intend to invite Israel and Israeli companies to participate in an economic coalition together with Americans and Europeans with the aim of rebuilding Syria: investments in the areas of oil and gas, energy, agriculture, irrigation, transport, water resources, tourism, telecommunications, industry, and investment in commerce and banking, and more.
- Syrian Jews in Israel and the Diaspora will be ambassadors of peace and rapprochement between the states of Israel and Syria and their peoples and the pillars upon which to consolidate a culture of peace, development and cooperation.
- Syrian Jews will have the right to recover their property in Syria and to rebuild and maintain the synagogues and cemeteries in Syria.
- We consider the religious and cultural heritage of Jews in Syria to be an integral part of the identity and heritage of Syria and the entire region.
- We anticipate benefiting from the experience of the Jewish people in their pursuit of the Nazis following World War II as we seek to prosecute Assad and members of his regime for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The National Army and Security Services in the new Syria:
- The national army, police and security forces will be rebuilt on a professional basis.
- Syrian border security will be ensured.
- Internal security and stability will be re-established.
- Extremism and terrorism will be eliminated.
- Construction and development will be supported and the Syrian refugees will return home.
- The army and the security forces in the new Syrian state will not interfere or in any way become involved in conflicts outside Syria’s borders.
- Armed with defensive weapons, Syria will be able to achieve internal security and national stability.
- The Syrian army will not possess any kind of weapons of mass destruction.
- Compulsive military service will not exceed six months and its purpose will be to support the national (professional) army in the fight against extremism and terrorism and in restoring security and stability.
We invite the State of Israel and all regional actors to join in the formation of a regional security council under the auspices of the United Nations on which all regional parties will sit together to achieve better understanding and coordination on matters of interests to the region as a whole. In this way, most of the problems facing the region will be better resolved, putting an end to bloodshed and the cycle of destruction in the Middle East.
We ask that the State of Israel take practical, concrete steps toward showing the Syrian people that the State of Israel rejects the Holocaust taking place in Syria, the crimes against humanity and war crimes carried out by the Assad regime in collaboration with the Iran, and the allies and militias affiliated with them.
We, the National Salvation Front in Syria, which includes a selection of military and civilian elites engaged in a national project for a new Syria, are reaching out to the Israeli people with a message of love and peace, as contained in this roadmap. We confirm that the vision of the new Syrian state will always be about rebuilding our nation for the future of all our children in a culture of peace and without any discrimination regarding rights and responsibilities.
National Salvation Front in Syria
Founder ـ General Coordinator