Mideast peace and my own DIY Marshal Plan

Mideast peace and my own DIY Marshal Plan

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I'm promoting the efforts of smart people toward the end of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. My own effect is very small, but when you get a lot of this going, you got something with traction.

The focus is on people getting real stuff done, not do-gooders who mean well, but aren't effective.

The areas are:

  • One Voice a mass movement of moderates, hundreds of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians who are tired of the fighting and want to make a deal. They've gotten real traction.
  • Microfinance and other ways to get credit to small and medium sized businesses, so they can hire people. This includes talking to Kiva, maybe some Calvert Foundation stuff, and on a larger scale, the Mideast Investment Initiative.
  • Getting bloggers on both sides to talk to each other, and maybe recommend businesses who need loans.

Next week, I should have good news regarding what I call the "Craig Newmark memorial latrine" in Jericho, but to be sure, the folks at American Near East Refugee Aid have done the heavy lifting.

I've been getting encouragement from sources including ordinary people on the ground on both sides, and even people in the US and Israeli governments, all informal.

The Marshall Plan helped turn Germany and Japan, post WWII, from enemies to friends.

This is just a start; more to come.

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2 Comments

Richard Reiss

FYI, interesting story: surfboards made their way from Israel as a gift to Gaza, and OneVoice helped:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/world/middleeast/22mideast.html?
Surfers of the world, unite. Best quote, from the 86 year old Jewish surfer and philanthropist Doc Paskowitz, on learning one of the Palestinian surfers was sympathetic to Hamas:
“To be able to go to your enemies and give them something that makes them happy is a most fulfilling adventure."
This is the story that caught his eye, and gave him the idea of a surfboard donation:
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-fg-gazasurf29jul29,1,5661745.story

Ryan Lackey

I definitely think microfinance (and other business infrastructure support, like payment processing, communications, etc.) would go a long way in MENA. I work in Iraq, and am more on the IT infrastructure side, but I'm thinking about doing some finance deployments in Iraq and the horn of africa next year.
Another program in Israel/Palestine which seems effective is MIT MEET.

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