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Syria Blames Israel for US War With Iraq - 2004-09-27

Syria's foreign minister has delivered a blistering attack on Israel at the U.N. General Assembly debate. Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara accused Israel of inciting the United States to go to war in Iraq.

In a harshly-worded speech, the Syrian foreign minister said Israel has contributed to "extremist and intolerant policies" that have been advanced in an attempt to find a new enemy after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Minister Farouq al-Shara accused Israel of inciting the United States and the West to wage endless wars in the Middle East to promote the idea that the Arab/Israeli conflict is not the core of the region's problems.

"Israel bears an important share of the responsibility for intensifying and worsening the American predicament in Iraq by avoiding the resumption of the peace process despite the hand extended by the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese," he said. "Israel's course of action may come back to haunt it because its occupation of Arab lands is a major cause of the rejection of the American policies in the broader Middle East."

The Syrian foreign minister said Israel is building a 'racist separation wall' while at the same time refusing to comply with 40 Security Council resolutions and hundreds of General Assembly resolutions demanding Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories.

Mr. al-Shara's speech came hours after Israel's deputy defense minister threatened that Syria may be subject to Israeli strikes to prevent terrorist attacks against Israel and accused President Bashir al-Assad of direct involvement in terrorism.

Syria earlier had accused Israel of terrorism in connection with Sunday's car bomb attack that killed a top official of the Palestinian Hamas organization in Damascus.

The United States has placed Syria on its list of states that sponsor terrorism.

In his General Assembly speech, Foreign Minister al-Shara restated Syria's opposition to terrorism. But he said there is a difference between terrorism and what he called legitimate national opposition movements.