Israeli paper: premier talked peace with Syria
JERUSALEM (AP) -- An Israeli newspaper reports Israel's prime minister secretly talked peace with Syria through an American mediator, but negotiations ended with the unrest in Syria.
Yediot Ahronot reports that during the talks, from late 2010 to early 2011, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to return the Golan Heights to Syria. Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Mideast war.
The prime minister's office said in a statement Friday that Israel never accepted the American initiative and that it is no longer relevant. The U.S. Embassy had no immediate comment.
American businessman and Netanyahu associate Ronald Lauder reportedly negotiated a similar deal in 1998, during Netanyahu's first term as premier. At the time, Netanyahu denied that claim.
Netanyahu's successor, Ehud Barak, also offered a Golan withdrawal for peace, but the talks failed.