Lebanon no longer stands between them. The PLO is suddenly if temporarily negligible. Iraq is reduced and out of the way. Jordan is a docile follower of the wind. Israel and Syria have drawn much closer together. Whether in peace or in war is for them to work out.
Syria looms larger in Arab counsels after the gulf war, becoming the single Arab state that can make peace talks occur or not. Syria and Israel both agree to negotiations, each on terms that it is assured the other will refuse. They share a common understanding that the United Nations is stacked against Israel and would add weight leaning on Israel for concessions. This understanding may be obsolete, which Israel acknowledged by agreeing that the European Community, which it previously put in the same basket as the United Nations, might play a useful role.
In fact, while both Israel and Syria brandished negative conditions, both have made positive statements that deserve notice. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir called the West Bank and Gaza negotiable. Egypt called that a step in the right direction. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad's continued calls for peace talks is evidence of potential willingness to accept Israel's permanent existence.