ODVV Interview: OASIS Plan and Peace in West Asia

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Publish Date : 06/23/2024 15:39
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ODVV Interview: OASIS Plan and Peace in West Asia
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Specifically, the Oasis Plan sees the construction of new water conveyances from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, and from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.

The West Asian region has always been embroiled in numerous conflicts for various reasons, such as the interference of external governments and the aggression of certain countries towards the people and rights of other nations. In a clear example, in the recent invasions by Israel in the opt, over 36,000 individuals, predominantly children, women, and civilians, were killed by Israeli forces. In the meantime, various solutions have been proposed to reduce these conflicts, one of which is achieving peace through economic development by the Schiller Institute. Therefore, the ODVV has conducted an interview with Dr. Jason Ross, the Schiller Institute science advisor, and the details are presented below. Before this interview, there is a brief overview of this institution.

A brief about the Schiller Institute then:
The Schiller Institute was founded 40 years ago in an effort to defend the rights of all humanity to progress: material, moral and intellectual. It is named after Friedrich Schiller, the great 18th-century German poet and playwright, whose works have inspired republican opposition to oligarchic tyranny worldwide. Today, the Schiller Institute carries out events drawing participants from all continents, on issues of peace, development, and progress in cultural and scientific fields.


1. OASIS Plan and Peace in West Asia:
Briefly explain the OASIS plan and its management.
The Oasis Plan envisions the upgrading of the physical economic potential of Southwest Asia in the context of greater integration more generally. Specifically, the Oasis Plan sees the construction of new water conveyances from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, and from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea; nuclear-powered energy and desalination plants to provide ample freshwater for the water-starved areas, with the benefits accruing to Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians, as new fresh water reaches as far as Amman. The project will create the equivalent of a new Jordan River, and will secure to all people of the region a more stable and prosperous future. Its creation will require international cooperation of a new kind. China has great infrastructure capabilities. Regional economies have large sovereign wealth funds. The United States, if it will return to its better traditions, can ensure security and work on engineering as well. Such cooperation will contribute to the establishment of a new paradigm of state-to-state relations. Jason Ross is the Science Advisor to the Schiller Institute and the narrator of a short video about the Oasis Plan.

Describe how this plan can contribute to peace in the West Asian region.
West Asia is a natural bridge between the great continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It stands at a natural crossroads of parts of the world with enormous growth potential. While the region has been thought of in terms of its hydrocarbon resources, it is the availability of fresh water that will govern the future potentials for development of the area. Although it is not the only cause, water scarcity has played a significant role in conflict in the region, such as the water resources of the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon with respect to the Litani River. There simply is not enough natural fresh water to go around in the region. The only solution is desalination.
By combining coastal desalination with the inland desalination possible through the construction of the two new water conveyances, it will be possible to bring the benefits of fresh water not only to Gaza, but to the desert of the Negev and to Jordan as well. Wars end in peace. But what kind of peace? When the fighting stops, what happens next? Having a productive vision for the future can make an impossible peace, a possible one.

2. Incentives and Guarantees for Joining:
Considering the complexities in the West Asian region, what incentives exist for countries to join the OASIS plan?
Palestine, Israel, and Jordan will all benefit from the increased water available for agriculture and development, and from the ability peacefully to produce more water as needed in the future. Other regional nations such as Egypt, the Gulf Cooperation Council nations, and Iran, would benefit from helping to bring peace to a tumultuous region. They will also benefit from the greatly improved potentials for trade: imagine goods from Iran traveling by rail through Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and into Africa.
The entire world will benefit from a peaceful, prosperous West Asia, serving its rightful role as a crossroads of the world, as a center for connectivity, enabling efficient and speedy rail-based travel and logistics.


How can countries outside the region contribute, and what guarantees support this project?
There are three ways that countries outside the region can contribute:
1. Technical expertise / engineering abilities: Countries from around the world can make available their talents in water and energy engineering to play a role as designers or contractors.
2. Financing: This project will require financing from outside the region to be successful. This is an investment in peace in the area, and improved logistics and development potential for Eurasia and Africa.
3. Political efforts: Achieving this project will require that Israel abandon its intent of ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people. Nations around the world can play a role in pressuring Israel to change. Witness, for example, South Africa's actions at the World Court.

3. Impact of Current Situation on Implementation:
How does the ongoing situation, including Israel’s attack on Rafah, affect the implementation of the OASIS plan?
Israel’s commitment to carrying out ethnic cleansing makes any sort of peace more difficult. But we must keep in mind that the failure over years to achieve a comprehensive peace and development perspective for the region has come from colonial (primarily British) efforts to deliberately create conflict. Although the current devastation of Gaza seems to make peace more remote, the barbaric actions by Israel help thinking people in the world to realize that a fundamental change is required. A positive and realistic vision for a peaceful and prosperous future is made more possible by the harrowing circumstances.


4. Student Movement and OASIS:
What role does the student movement in the West, especially in the USA, play in supporting the OASIS plan? Can it help prevent further violence against Palestinians?
The student protests in the West, especially the United States, reveal the enormous gulf that exists between popular sentiment (especially among the youth) and the prevailing views of the elites. Many ordinary people are morally sickened by the destruction of Gaza and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. These movements have often limited themselves to calling for actions by their own universities, such as through boycotts and divestments. But the young people have a great potential to speak with the voice of the future in favor of the Oasis Plan. This will increase the potential of the youth movements to reshape U.S. policy.

5. Challenges in Implementing Plans:
Given the USA’s strong support for Israel, how can plans like OASIS be effectively implemented, especially when questioning the country’s neutrality?
The Oasis Plan is only possible if there is a significant change in the United States, which has given essentially 100% support to any action by the Israeli military. (The same is also true for such nations as Germany.) The Schiller Institute, through interfaces with student movements among other avenues, seeks to achieve a recognition on the part of the U.S. and other relevant countries, that their true self-interest does not lie in attempting to maintain hegemony. Instead, the self-interest of the United States, like all nations, lies in promoting the general well-being of its people, and of the world as a whole. 
The Ten Principles of a New International Security and Development Architecture proposed by Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche in 2022 supply a perspective for such an improved self-conception for, in particular, the U.S. and Europe.


“ ODVV Interview: OASIS Plan and Peace in West Asia ”