- Erel Margalit will publish a plan, written in Arabic, and will embark on a campaign to have citizens from countries across the region sign up. “If governments don’t lead anything forward – we’ll reach out to the people of this region to call on their governments”
- On the chances of success: ”I had nine governments from around the world invest in my fund, which established over 100 companies in Israel – we know how to implement a plan for our future “
- About Netanyahu: ”The Prime Minister says we have no partner. He’s right. We don’t have one partner. We have numerous partners. Governments should stop thwarting the efforts to reach a settlement, step aside and let entrepreneurs, investors and negotiators bring in some real peace and security. “
MK Erel Margalit, is running for leadership of the Zionist Union (Labor party), and is making efforts to “do” rather than to “talk” in order to become a leader who can be a viable option to replace Netanyahu.
Sunday morning, Margalit introduced his plan for the Middle East, which he calls the “Plan of Converging Interests, ” and is designed to garner the support of other countries in the region to reach economic and security cooperation.
The plan was published in Arabic and translated into Hebrew.”We will bring it to millions of citizens in Arab countries who are ready to reject extremists and ready to live in peace and security and have them sign up.” He said, “We will enlist the support of security officials from around the world who want economic cooperation and peace.”
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”We need to stop talking about “peace”, imagining flowers and butterflies and laughing children” he said, “Whoever tries to sell this romanticized vision cannot truly bring about a settlement. Anyone selling a political settlement as a love story, ” he added, “in which people hold hands and walk together into the sunset, has never held negotiations.”
Yes – “We need to reach an agreement motivated by common interests. As in the world of business – interests need to converge – then a relationship is forged, ” says MK Margalit on his plan.
The plan envisions the projecting of Israel’s interests, with those of its neighbors, and the launch of joint projects alongside a political agreement similar to the Saudi initiative.
”Why does the Left fail time after time? Because all the political plans, without exception, focus on what and how much we give – instead of what we can gain — it’s time to change that perception, ” says Margalit. ”As soon as we think in terms of ‘we’ll give them land and get nothing in return, ‘ the starting point for dialogue is blocked, because the Palestinians have very little to give us, that’s the truth. That is why we are talking about a broader move that includes a wide range of Israeli interests that, until now, have not been part of the dialogue and have been pushed aside. We will change the discourse: No more: ”How many kilometers in return for a diplomatic solution” but rather “which Israeli interests are met.”
The plan includes an outline of Israel’s interests: Security interests, economic interests, social interests, national interests, the international democratic interest and IDF’s interests, of which Margalit says: ”In recent years, the IDF has turned from a military combat army to a policing army. Our soldiers are faced with tasks that are inconsistent with the objectives of the IDF as a combat army. A post-settlement IDF will go back to being an army which fulfills its defense missions.”
The following are the The Plan of Converging Interests’ joint projects:
In order to propel significant economic development in the region, providing counterweight to the huge financial investments currently pouring into Iran, Margalit is presenting an international plan for regional economic projects that will allow the flow of American, European, Suni, Russian and international capital into economically viable projects, which will benefit the peoples of the region, particularly Israel:
Regional airport – build an airport between four regional countries with a new employment zone. The regional airport will include 2 terminals – one on the Israeli side and the other on the Jordanian side, with access to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Industrial and commercial zone: An industrial, free trade zone between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority around Gilboa and Jenin, Spring Valley and Jordan – a joint economic zone that will accelerate new business partnerships, exports of local enterprises and opening the Israeli high-tech industry to markets previously closed to it.
Rehabilitation of Gaza: An international program, led by world countries, Israel, and other Middle East countries on the basis of an economic architectural work plan formulated in collaboration with the Palestinian private sector, to rebuild Gaza’s water and energy infrastructures, its economy, industry and commerce. The initiative aims to address unemployment and poverty as well as build a new growth engine shared by the Western Negev and Gaza.
Jerusalem – regional capital of innovation: Instead of focusing on the city’s walls, let us begin to open its gates. As a religious cultural focal point of the three monotheistic religions, and as the entire region’s lifeblood, we must turn Jerusalem into a common creative hub for technology, in areas such as medicine, new media, etc.
Regional high-tech network – Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Jerusalem maintain a successful network on high-tech issues. We must expand this network into other Arab countries through leading cities across the Middle East, which will criss-cross the region with technological business relationships, creating trust between various parties in other fields as well.
The regional water project – a massive project of desalination and water management in various Middle Eastern countries suffering from severe water shortages – Israel can serve as a force of rehabilitation and renewal, as it does in other world countries.
Innovation in agriculture – Israeli innovations, Arab Resources: Innovative agricultural developments will enable new and nutritious crops to grow in desert areas and constitute an effective solution for providing fresh and nutritious food to disaster areas in the Middle East (more information from Arava Institute).
Community medicine; Low cost medical community diagnostics that allow testing and treatment in remote locations, far away from large medical centers.
Joint projects with Arab countries:
· Security cooperation with Arab countries: While developing a joint regional economic process, which will enhance trust between us and Arab countries, Israel and neighboring countries have a historic opportunity to cooperate against security threats that bind us in a new reality
· Cooperation on cyber security: Establishing a regional CERT center – against the backdrop of the drastic increase in cyber attacks on government agencies, infrastructure and institutions that are vital to the economy and security, establishing a CERT (cyber emergency response team) center – led by Israel and moderate Arab countries – to counter attacks on financial institutions, airlines, infrastructure, energy, plants or civilian security entities.
· Cooperation in safeguarding the borders between the countries – against the intentions of fundamentalist terrorist groups to destroy the state model, thousands of refugees who flock to the borders and imperialist ambitions such as Iran’s, it is necessary to promote cooperation between countries in the region, to maintain sustainable borders and protect the notion of the state. Sharing civilian technologies and accumulated experience are a convenient basis for interest-based partnership.
”The Plan of Converging Interests” is not just an idea, it is taking shape as we speak, going from paper to action. During the past year, numerous activities in the field of economic cooperation and security have been launched, relationships have been established with various parties across the world and steps were taken to promote action. Meetings were held with hundreds of people in Europe and the US, and ties were forged with officials in Arab countries. The decision is not to wait for anyone, but to start doing.
Margalit concludes: “If governments don’t push anything forward – we’ll cause the peoples of this region to push their governments”
MK Erel Margalit plans to present his plan in a series of meetings with Arab leaders, enlisting the support of security officials, policy makers and political figures in Israel and abroad, and embarking on a journey to sign up Arab citizens in all countries of the region.
Margalit comments on the prospects of the plan: ” I had nine governments worldwide invest in my fund, which established over 100 companies in Israel – we will know how to implement this plan as well ”
” Like in business, whoever joins first – will win big time, ” concluded Margalit.