Rabin, Hussein and Clinton at Arava peace deal signing 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Hollander)
From my meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman on December 18, my conviction that Europe’s future is currently at stake in the Middle East has been strengthened. The deal of the century is on. It is for defending a European deal of the century that I want to run for the La République En Marche list for European elections.
I’m 27 years old and French. I have worked as a journalist for several Arab editorial offices in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Many embassies in Paris like to say that I am a “Middle East specialist.” Israel has also invited me in this capacity to visit its government and its parliament.
All the crises that have shaken EU societies since 11 September 2001, with the exception of the financial and monetary crisis, have their origins on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, starting with terrorism and the migration crisis. The construction of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation to bring a lasting peace to the Mediterranean Basin is crucial. The deal of the century is first and foremost a European-MENA affair.
For Europe, the first task of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is to stop terrorism. The sine qua non condition is a formal, close and “integrated” security cooperation between the European Union, the Arab countries and Israel. The normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel is fundamental to the security of the European Union.
The other task is to stop the migration crisis. For this reason, the socio-economic and ecolo-technological development of the Mediterranean Basin is an urgent matter. Ecolo-technology first: we have much to fear from the growing hydrophobia around the Mediterranean. Food self-sufficiency is threatened in countries like Egypt, a demographic bomb of 100 million inhabitants. A more serious migration crisis against the backdrop of a food crisis is likely to occur in the next five years.
We can prevent this by promoting ecolo-technological cooperation on water issues. There is already the “Two Seas Canal” project between Israel and Jordan, and partnerships around water recycling technologies. To protect the Euro-Mediterranean Basin from a major hydrographic and food crisis, and to protect itself from a new migration crisis, Europe must work to build the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation around water and agriculture matters with Israel and the Arab countries.
To do this, we must first reach the deal of the century! The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only obstacle to the regional cooperation that can protect us from ongoing disasters.
To succeed in this deal, we must face three challenges: the weapons of Hezbollah; the Palestinian camps in Lebanon; and Syria. That’s my ambition.
From the war in Syria, the Syrian government has understood two things: 1) Syria forever needs a Maronite and independent Lebanon, and 2) Baath has no real affinity with Iran and Damascus will have no great reasons, after the end of the war, to oppose a solution to Hezbollah’s weapons, a solution in which it can be the major actor.
We know how to organize the guarantees that Syrians need to get rid of Hezbollah’s weapons and solve the problem of Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Syria could join the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and break away from Iran. Even in Gaza, the effects will be considerable by isolating Hamas from Iran.
At that moment, a general normalization between the Arab countries and Israel will be possible, the only way to launch the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation commensurate with today’s existential challenges. The result will be an unparalleled area of trade and of technological and scientific cooperation: from the Ruhr to the Arabian Gulf, through Israel, Lebanon and Syria.
It will also be an opportunity to advance our democratic principles on the other side of the Mediterranean, with these two priorities: the fight against antisemitism and hatred of Israel, and the fight for gender equality and respect for the dignity of homosexuals. The effect will then be considerable on the integration of immigrants and their descendants in Europe.
European reconciliation can also be achieved here. Italy, Hungary and Poland have succeeded in establishing the best relations with both Israel and Syria. We can work together on this historic project despite recent colds.
Finally, this project is proof that diversity is an opportunity and an enrichment for France and Europe, because only an Arab-Muslim Frenchman or woman, integrated, if not assimilated (which is not an insult), is able to do so and embody it.
I want to be the candidate of the European-MENA deal of the century.The writer, a French-Lebanese journalist and specialist on Middle East and French-German relations, is currently preparing a thesis.
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