First you must know that I am an ardent Zionist. Everything I will say after this is predicated on the love of the Jewish people and of Israel. So here we go.
I believe that most people simply want to live their lives in peace, earning enough money to feed themselves, their wife and their family and perhaps have some money left over for some enjoyment. Being hungry, not having a job is a recipe for problems. I remember in the early 80’s, the United States and more specifically, the New York area was going thru a recession. The people who were most affected were the uneducated minorities. They had no financial cushion. As a result of being hungry, they broke into buildings to steal copper wiring and plumbing to get enough money to feed themselves. Not a good situation.
This is the plight of many Palestinians. The West Bank has in excess of 35% unemployment and Gaza in excess of 50%. What are they to do. Indeed, some of them are so desperate that they volunteer to be suicide bombers in exchange for $25,000.
So my thinking has been evolving. My first thought was to do micro- financing. Help the Palestinians establish a business of their own where they could then employ other people who then would be able to go out and spend money to purchase all sorts of things. By doing this, other businesses would grow, have to hire more people thereby enabling the Palestinian economy to grow.
My next thought was similar to the Marshall plan whereby Israel and/or the United States etc. would help build/rebuild the Palestinian economy. After all, it worked for Germany and Japan where, after the war, America came in and helped rebuild their economies and today Germany and Japan are two of Americas closest allies. The Palestinian man I am dealing with, Sam Bahour (look him up) didn’t pick up on this idea.
We then began to talk about skills that the Palestinians have i.e. software development, programming , Furniture manufacturing, tile and marble textiles etc. I began to think about ways of marketing skills like this into the United States. After all, for two of our companies, my son Jason used software development people from Russia. After some conversation, Sam mentioned that there is a skilled furniture manufacturing industry there. I said-great- this is something specific and I felt/feel that I know how to market this into the United States. We are currently getting brochures on what type of furniture these manufactures produce and what is their capacity to manufacture in quantity.
Another conversation that Sam and I had involved water to Gaza. Today Gaza suffers from lack of water and the water that they have is contaminated by water sewage. This is an untenable situation . Until recently (the last 10-15 years) Israel did not have desalination. All it’s growth was supported by various approaches of water conservation. .As an example, Israel recycles 80% of the water used in a city. Gaza has over 500,000 people living there. If we assume that each person uses 4 gallons of water daily, that’s 2 million gallons of water- 80% of which could be used for irrigation-daily. Water leakage in the city’s systems can easily amount to 40%- that would save another 800,000 gallons of water daily. This is huge and between just these two techniques of conservation, the water issues in Gaza could be dramatically improved This is something that we’re now looking into…
It is my hope, my dream and my belief that when people are satisfied with their lives, have water to drink and food to eat they’re not likely to want war. There are three levels- WAR, PEACE AND NON-WAR. Certainly I hope and pray for Peace but if this brings about non-war so be it.