Israel confirmed Wednesday that it is holding indirect peace talks with Syria mediated by Turkey.
The statement from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was the first official Israeli admission of the contacts.
Wednesday's statement said the sides "have declared their intent to conduct these talks in good faith and openly." The statement says the goal is "to reach a comprehensive peace agreement."
There have been reports in recent months of new Israeli-Syrian contacts through Turkey. Syria wants Israel to return the Golan Heights, which it captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
U.S.-mediated peace talks between the two countries broke down in 2000 because of disagreements over the extent of an Israeli withdrawal.
Due to their lack of historical context or actual knowledge of diplomacy, it is highly unlikely that the Bush Administration will know how to react to this. The Israelis will not be denounced as appeasers, for it is likely that the Israelis took Bush aside last week and casually told him of their own "appeasement" of their sworn enemy. And, please note that the US Secretary of State was probably kept, deliberately, out of the loop and out of the room. I say probably, but I would hasten to add "definitely."