We hear in the daily news about the Israeli-Palestian conflict. We unfortunately tend to hear only bad news from that region: terrorist attacks, Israeli raids, settlements in occupied land, qassam rockets and much much more. Everything we hear seems to be sending one message to the world: that region is stuck in a never-ending conflict.
Rethorical comments are abundant, therefore I just aim to report a fact which appears to be practically unknown. There are very few webpages on this (one should probably wonder why), as you can test yourself through a simple Google search.
Ever heard of ‘Nets of Peace‘? If anyone has heard of it before, I’d be happy to know! I first read about this very interesting project on Pagine Ebraiche, in an article by M. Calimani. The idea is simple: to set up a large-scale fish industry in Gaza to promote peace. This project stems from the desire to solve serious issues affecting the Gaza strip and, ultimately, Israel. The team leading the project realised that there were two sets of facts which could be put in relation.
On the one hand, the serious unemployment and the malnutrition affecting Gaza. Unofficial reports estimate the unemployment in Gaza affects more than 40% of the population in Gaza, causing many people to apply for jobs with Hamas simply because they wish to support their families. The population in Gaza also suffers from serious malnutrition, in particular children. It is estimated that 60% of children in Gaza suffer from malnutrition.
On the other hand, there is a growing need for fish on a global scale and the Gaza area is a 40 km strip on the Mediterranean costline. Therefore, Gaza has a strong and long-standing marine culture. Due to high smuggling threats over the past few years, the fish industry in Gaza has reduced and consequently average price of fishfood has soared, thereby reducing the possibility for Gaza families to afford this important source of proteins.
The team of Nets of Peace, composed by 5 students (David Welch, Ohad Kot, Danielle Angel, David McGeady and Osher Perry) from Tel Aviv University, came up with the idea of creating a project to set up a fish industry in the Gaza strip. This project also meet environment-friendly criteria as it promotes environmental responsibility through the conservation and rehabilitation of the coastline on the basis of a ‘zero footprint policy’. Nets of Peace is based on the acronym BENEFIT, which stands for the guiding lines of the project:The team has so far:
- gained the support of Stef Wertheimer, recent winner of the Oslo Business for Peace Award
- reached the 2009 finals of the United Nations Spirit Initiative (where SPIRIT stands for Students Participating in Resolving International Tensions)
- won the possibility to participate in the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative.
For more information on the project, visit the website of Nets of Peace: http://www.netsofpeace.org/
Meet the team in this video!