Amir Peretz to 'Post': Israel, UAE can enjoy the fruits of the peace deal

Peace could be sustained only if it is established on the basis of the relations between the citizens of the countries.

Amir Peretz sports a new look – without his trademark moustache (photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
Amir Peretz sports a new look – without his trademark moustache
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
‘Human beings come first” has been the fundamental principle of my public activity for decades. It is my social standpoint which naturally implicates my economic and political ideology. Moreover, my moral starting point, in matters of peace or even war, derives from this human perception.
Already in the early ’80s of the last century, I was one of the leaders of the Peace Now movement, which represented a very unpopular political position to the residents of the city of Sderot, where I served as mayor.
For years, this perspective has guided me in trying to find a way to reach a peace agreement with our Palestinian neighbors, even in days when my house and my children’s houses were consistently under fire coming from our neighbors across the border.
 During my entire life, I have held the belief that peace between us and our neighbors is a supreme moral value, because, as I stated, human beings come first. This value must trickle down to Israeli society as a whole, and the fruits of this peace must reach every part of it and also beyond our borders.
Peace could be sustained only if it is established on the basis of the relations between the citizens of the countries, when the people-to-people principle, and not only the government-to-government one, is fulfilled.
The normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which is being drafted now, is unparalleled in its importance, and it is becoming clear that in addition to its political aspects, both countries could benefit from this partnership in many aspects, such as social, science and technology.
I would like to note, with great appreciation, that during the past decade the UAE has made impressive technological progress, while placing the planning and designing of the future as a top priority. According to the country’s long-term plans, an enormous amount of resources is invested in projects that aim to reduce the economy’s reliance on petroleum and natural gas resources. Wisely, the UAE government has promoted, among others, an ambitious aerospace program and invested in research, engineering and technological infrastructures.
This innovative approach could be the basis for remarkable collaborations with Israel, which would increase the well-being of the citizens of both countries, and also be useful on an international level.
In order to maximize the economic potential that lies in the collaborations between the two countries, I have asked the experts in my ministry, the Ministry of Economy and Industry, to outline the ways in which we could cooperate in a variety of fields, such as:
1. Cleantech: joint projects of water desalination, irrigation, sustainable energy, desertification, etc.
2. Finance: R and D collaborations in cybersecurity, encryption and fintech.
3. Life Science: R and D collaborations focused on developing a vaccine or medicine for COVID-19, for cancer, and the promotion of brain and stem cell research as a cure for most of the world’s diseases.
These sectors, among many others, could benefit from the normalization agreement.
As a result of the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan in 1996, the United States president initiated the establishment of the Trilateral Industrial Development foundation, which promotes and supports collaborations in the field of applied research. I will work to create a similar but much larger foundation by the American government, together with the UAE and Israeli governments. The foundation would help researchers from Israel and the UAE, which in turn could benefit the entire world. There is enormous potential, and its implementation may be beneficial for the entire world.
Finally, I wish to quote from an article written by UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba: “As two of the Middle East’s most dynamic economies and vibrant societies, closer UAE-Israel ties will accelerate growth and innovation, expand opportunities for young people and break down long-held prejudices.
“It will help move the region beyond a troubled legacy of hostility and strife to a more hopeful destiny of peace and prosperity.”
 Inshallah and salam alaikum.
The writer is the economy and industry minister.