Should the news that Israel and Syria are officially to start talks fill us with hope or fear? Over the last 60 years, Syria has done nothing to prove itself a trustworthy partner for peace. It has long been a sponsor of terror and a conduit for arms from Iran to Hizbollah. And even committed peaceniks on the Israeli side have expressed fears that this announcement is merely a political decision to distract attention from Ehud Olmert’s current investigation for corruption. All these fears have some validity. But low-level contacts between Israel and Syria have been ongoing for more than two years. The parameters of any deal — territorial pull-back over the Golan, terror groups booted out of Damascus — have long been clear. And a perfectly placed interlocutor has been found in the form of Turkey, which enjoys good relations with both states as well as considerable leverage over Syria, whose water supply it virtually controls. That missing piece of the puzzle, the United States, has indicated that it would be willing to enter the process, despite its contempt for Syria, once negotiations have shown some results. Of course, all this will take time. Israel occupied the Golan Heights in six days, but — unlike the Gaza Strip — is unlikely to leave in the same time-span. Israeli farms and vineyards may be allowed an entire decade to relocate. We are even a way off from an actual face-to-face official meeting. But in the meantime, this elusive peace may finally be on the horizon, and we should allow ourselves the luxury of hoping — if only fearfully.