Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean:
From Back to Back to Face to Face Strategic Plan 2050
Professor Shlomo Hasson and Dr. Rami Nasrallah
1. Why strategic plan for the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean:
a. The basic assumption is that by 2050 there will be two independent states in this area that live in peace with each other. This area, which was historically one country, has been divided with little consideration for the ethno-demographic, socio-cultural, environmental and physical components. This area is too small and developments within each state will have a large impact on the other.
b. These impacts are due to: population growth, urbanization, ecological footprint, and ethno-demographic and socio-cultural attachments to the place.
c. In addition there are many shared assets that require joint planning: aquifers, streams and rivers that start in one state and end in another, ecological corridors, shared roads and infrastructure, economic and health opportunities.
2. The main goals of the proposed plan are:
a. To develop and implement the notion of face to face rather than the existing back to back planning. This idea is based on the assumption that the bordering regions are connected and have mutual impact on each other in terms of development and growth.
b. To coordinate between two independent national plans for 2050: an Israeli plan and a Palestinian plans. These plans are prepared by two independent teams, with different approaches, goals and contexts.
c. To serve as an incentive for cooperation between the two states and their peoples by showing the benefits of peace and cooperation.
d. To turn Palestine and Israel into a model of cooperation between civilizations. This model can be later expanded to the entire region and especially to other neighboring states.
e. To create a regional hub that serves as a dynamo of economic growth in the Middle East, using its competitive advantage and value added.
f. To establish a leading, viable and sustainable model of cooperation with EU countries and Mediterranean partners.
3. How to create the plan:
a. Through a bottom-up initiative taken by Israeli and Palestinians with the support of other governments and planners across the world.
b. The initiative should solicit a world-wide support (knowledge, expertise, public relations and financial support) by showing that peace and a two-state solution are not only necessary but also desirable and beneficial for the two parties.
c. The planning process is an important input to trust building and its output could be used by different stakeholders in order to promote political, economic and social cooperation.
4. The method of planning:
a. Mapping existing processes and patterns
b. Developing scenarios for the planned area
c. Creating a vision and joint plan for 2050
d. Devising strategies for implementation
5. Who prepares the plan:
a. A joint team of Palestinians and Israelis in cooperation with Dutch experts and planners,
b. The preparation of the plan will be shared with European supporters (Lassale-Institute, Europainstitute, University of Basel AEBR), EU planners and advisors across the world (US, Singapore). The idea is to create an international consortium that will accompany the preparation of the plan, contribute ideas and knowledge and help the two teams in gaining knowledge, expertise and resources needed for the plan.
6. Short term steps to be taken immediately
a. Exploring Dutch planning and regional cooperation experience and other relevant experiences in Europe through a study tour
b. Engaging the Palestinian and the Israeli Civil Society and private sector in the 2050 process of envisioning and planning.
c. Fund raising to support the project.