From Ynet News, 21/5/08, by Shai Bazak, communications lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya:
Syria, Israel may be interested in dialogue, but not in peace or withdrawal ... Syria has no interest in peace with Israel, just like Israel has no interest is handing the Golan over to the Syrians.
Syria cannot deliver the minimal goods required of it; that is, severing its ties with terror organizations and the Iranian influence in favor of normalization with Israel.
Meanwhile, Israel has no desire to provide the Syrians with military positions on the Golan, which would again threaten Israeli communities, or to allow the Syrians access to the Sea of Galilee.
On the other hand, both sides have an interest in maintaining a sort of pre-dialogue process; that is, an interest in being perceived as though they are aspiring for peace while the other side is presented as the rejectionist.
The supreme interest of President Bashar Assad, who is a member of the Alawite minority, is to safeguard his regime – a complicated mission considering the small size of the ethnic minority he is a part of. Any action undertaken by Assad stems from this desire.
... does Assad really want peace? Would such peace serve his supreme goal, which is the safeguarding of his regime?
The answer to that is negative of course. The hatred for Israel, the external enemy, enables him to maintain absolute power in his country despite the economic and social repression suffered by the masses. The connection with terror groups, Iran, and the Palestinians enables Assad to get along with the Arab world and with his own citizens under the umbrella of hostility to Israel...
...Assad must appear as though he wants peace, especially vis-à-vis the world and the United States, and in light of the International Court of Justice proceedings against him over the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri. Hence, Assad’s declarations regarding his desire for talks with Israel are directed at the White House in Washington and at The Hague more than they are at Jerusalem....
...there is no genuine Israeli desire to hand over the Golan to the Syrians. The Golan isn’t Gaza, or even Judea and Samaria. It has no Arabs residents, with the exception of four Druze villages. The Golan, which is based on Jewish settlement, dominates the entire Galilee region.
.. there is no reason to give the Syrians the Golan in exchange for peace ...when there is no guarantee that the Syrians won’t attack again once the conditions or regime in Damascus change.
Therefore, beyond words, war threats, and the rustle of papers, apparently nothing will be changing on the Golan in the coming years.