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Panel 1: ‘Creating the Conditions for Dialogue, Security, Peace, and Development in Southwest Asia’

April 14, 2024 (EIRNS)—Here are the panelists’ opening remarks for Panel 1 of the Schiller Institute online conference of “The Oasis Plan: The LaRouche Solution for Peace Through Development Between Israel and Palestine and for All of Southwest Asia,” followed by an hour-long Q&A open discussion. The keynote section, which included the introduction by moderator Dennis Speed, with a video clip of Lyndon LaRouche’s June 2, 2002 address to the Zayed Center in Abu Dhabi, and the keynote by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, were in the lead section of yesterday’s briefing.

DENNIS SPEED: Hello, and welcome to today’s meeting of the international Schiller Institute, “The Oasis Plan: The LaRouche Solution for Peace through Development Between Israel and Palestine, and for All Southwest Asia.” ...


SPEED: Thank you very much, Helga. We are now honored by the presence of, and would like to welcome our next speaker, His Excellency Prof. Dr. Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian Ambassador to Denmark.

PROF. DR. MANUEL HASSASSIAN: Hello, and thank you for inviting me. I’m privileged to be on this panel with distinguished guests. This is an international podium where global messages should be addressed to the world; especially with the Schiller Institute’s Oasis Plan that has great resonance in terms of economic development globally. But before we talk a little bit about the Oasis Plan, I would like to highlight the apex of this protracted conflict that has been going on for the last 75 years between Palestinians and Israelis.

We, the Palestinians, have been conquered many times in history. The latest was basically the British mandate that on a golden platter through the Balfour Declaration, handed it to Israel after the 1948 war when Israel declared its independence, and in 1967 it continued its aggression by occupying the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. Since then, this protracted conflict has been going on based on what we call ethnic cleansing; based on the colonial settler movement, where the Zionists with their project of creating a homeland at the expense of the expulsion of the Palestinian people became a reality on the ground until 1967, where they have continued their Zionist project of occupying all of historic Palestine.

Since then, many UN resolutions, declarations, and what-have-you, international resolutions; the international resolutions have been countless, but they have been defied by this Occupation and by this colonial settler movement that has been supported by the United States of America unequivocally, let alone by European countries. We the Palestinians have paid the price of what is called the Holocaust; what is called the Jewish expulsion from Europe. We have paid the price by being extracted from our countries, being uprooted, and living under Occupation for the last several decades now.

I don’t want to go into the history of this conflict as much as to highlight what is going on today around us. Today, there is a war that has been declared by Israel on the entire Palestinian people, with the intention of decimating them; with the intention of forcefully diasporizing them again; with the intention of controlling the geography of Palestine and getting rid of the democracy of Palestine. What we are witnessing today is a war of ethnic cleansing; a genocide, a murder, a butchery. We cannot even find more words or more concepts to describe what is going on today in Gaza. Israel has the license to kill unfortunately by the support and by the complicity of the United States of America. Because the weapons that Israel has been using since the last six decades have been American, as well as British and European. But today, we consider the Americans complicit in this war crime against humanity and against the Palestinian innocent people. Thousands and thousands of children have been slaughtered and massacred in cold blood.

What can we say about a government that brags about its democracy and is supported by the democratic fever supposedly as being the bastion of democracy in the Middle East? What the last six decades have basically proven to us is that Israel is not a democracy; Israel is a theocracy; Israel is a settler colonialist; Israel grabbed the land of the Palestinians; Israel is building more settlements; Israel is creating new attacks on the ground; Israel wants to get rid of the Palestinian people. The excuse of October 7th has shown explicitly the intentions of Israel. It’s not only pursuing Hamas, but destroying the infrastructure of Gaza, destroying the Palestinian people in Gaza, in East Jerusalem; let alone the West Bank.

The mounting pressures and conflicts and killings in the West Bank are becoming more evident than ever. Every day we have people being killed; so much incarceration of Palestinians. All the time hot pursuit in the West Bank. Settlers have taken arms against the innocent Palestinians. The army is supporting the settlers in their attacks and murders against the Palestinians. The gung-ho mentality of the West is being performed diligently by the settlers today in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. And I cannot keep on describing the atrocious crimes Israel with its heinous intentions of trying to exterminate the Palestinian people.

This is a country that at one time made us believe that there would a possibility of a two-state solution. When we decided to make our historic compromise in 1988 in recognizing the state of Israel and accepting the two-state solution, we thought the paramount of the two-state solution comes with Oslo Accords which, to our of course disappointment, the Oslo Accords have legitimized the Occupation, quadrupled the settlements in the Occupied Territories, and created conducive measures for intensifying the conflict and the purging of the Israelis to the Palestinians.

Now, we look at the situation today. The international community beyond more sympathy and empathy, beyond condemnation whether directly or indirectly, has done nothing to stop this carnage and to stop the onslaught by Israel’s war machine against our people in Gaza and the West Bank. What we are witnessing is the fact that these Western governments have shown their double standards, have shown their hypocrisy, have shown their concepts of human rights being hollow by not putting any kind of pressure on Israel to stop these massacres, to stop this genocide. We have seen that the Americans, talking on one side about humanitarian assistance and opening borders, yet at the same time sending military weapons—tons and tons of bombs—to Israel to fight the Palestinians; allegedly Hamas threatening their security, while killing innocent Palestinian people.

So, the Americans are responsible as much as the Israelis in this war of atrocious measured I would say magnanimity against the innocent people. And yet, at the same time, we see the world watching the daily atrocious crimes committed by Israel without doing anything.

All these international court resolutions, the UN resolutions condemning Israel, asking Israel for withdrawal, stopping the carnage and what-have-you, have been only mere sheer talk and nothing complete on the ground. Every day, we wake up and see more destruction, more killing of the Palestinian people. Where are we going from here? So far, we have seen that Israel has failed; I say has failed dismally in fulfilling its objectives. It cannot get rid of Hams; it cannot get rid of 2 million Palestinians who are now starving to death in Gaza. It cannot get rid of the Palestinian quest for independence and quest for self-determination. Because the reality has shown that Palestinians will never kneel down and will never accept the diasporization as they did in 1948.

So, Israelis are in a dilemma: They cannot get rid of the Palestinians, and they cannot really bring security to the state of Israel. They cannot live legitimately happily ever after in the Middle East without solving the Palestinian issue. And without solving the fulcrum of crisis in the Middle East—i.e., the Palestinian issue—there will never be security and stability in the Middle East.

Saying this, because time is very limited and I don’t want to continue describing, but I would like to forecast what could be done to get basically two countries neighboring each other to live in peace. I would say that the Palestinian people, even under Occupation, have practiced the highest form of democracy. We had democratic elections—legislative, Presidential, municipal, and what-have-you. We have built our civil society. We have created linkages between our civil society and that of our government; and we have built basically the freedom of speech and expression. We try to also build our economic system, yet being under totally submissive basically to the Israeli economy. But still we manage to look at the options and resources for how we can create a sustainable economic production. Of course, the lack of water aquifers, the shortages of water in the West Bank because the settlers use most of it. Their control of the water aquifers basically restricts the production of our agriculture products, and that creates certain kinds of impediments to our progress and development as far as economy is concerned.

But we cannot really economically develop when we are totally subservient to the Israeli Occupation and to their economy and control over our natural resources, let alone our human resources. That’s why when we talk about peace, there will never be peace before a political resolution to this conflict. There is no economic solution without a political solution to this protracted conflict that has been fought between two epistemic communities for the last eight decades now. That’s why this makes me more inclined to talk about prospects of peace. Peace first starts as a charity at home. First we need to have our united people, together. We need to end this conflict between Hamas and Fatah. And we need to have one government that rules all over Palestine; that is the Palestinian government. That’s number one. Number two —

SPEED: Professor, could you please summarize? We’re way over time.

HASSASSIAN: Number two, we would like to see the cessation of this war in Gaza. We would like to see the release of hostages in return. We would like to go back to the negotiating table on the concept of a two-state solution. And in order to do so, basically we need to create the conducive conditions to implement what I have been saying. And to do so, I would just touch on the Oasis Plan that has elaborately explained to us how to understand we can achieve peace and prosperity in the region. Yes, I agree, political resolution comes first; second for the sustainability of peace there comes the Oasis Plan to salvage and sustain economic development between warring factions and to bring peace and prosperity for nations that have been in conflict. The proposed Oasis Plan has been taken seriously, I think. It has potential to be successful within the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That’s why I accepted to be on this conference; not to talk about the conflict, but to talk about prospects of peace in this context. I think the Oasis Plan is a window of opportunity for Palestinians and Israelis to grab in order to create the kind of peace that would have longevity and prosperity, living and coexisting for years to come. This is as much as I can say today, because the time restrictions are not allowing me to go into deeper analysis of this conflict and to talk about the complexities that could be considered as barriers to achieving peace and prosperity in the region. Thank you.

SPEED: Thank you very much. We’re welcoming now as our next speaker Mounir Anastas, Palestinian Ambassador to UNESCO; that’s the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. Welcome.

MOUNIR ANASTAS: Thank you so much. I thought that I can speak in French as well; maybe I start in French if it is possible, and then I’ll continue in English.

[via interpreter] I first want to thank the Schiller Institute for organizing this event. I want to especially thank Madame LaRouche for her very rich speech, very profound. There are certain things which she contributed which I completely share and approve. I also want to thank the Ambassador in Denmark; this avoids me repeating certain things. Concerning the Oasis Plan, I am not an expert on these technical issues, but my interest in this plan is the principle and the spirit and intention behind this, which is to have true economic and social development. We can achieve a prosperity and peace not only in the Middle East, but in the entire region of Southwest Asia. To come back to the principles of the plan itself, I will come back afterwards.

This project is directly connected to the issue of water. I want to talk about the UNESCO program on water. UNESCO has been trying to do several things which are not only education, science, and culture—which are part of UNESCO’s prerogatives—but also the water issue. I want to say a few words on that. Maybe now, I will switch to English to make it simpler for everybody.

[in English] In talking about water and UNESCO, I would like to just express one thing, because it is always between the lines. As Professor Hassassian mentioned, the Israeli regime is a theocratic regime. They try to convince everybody that the conflict between Israel and Palestine is a religious conflict, which is completely false. Our conflict is not a religious conflict; it is a political conflict. It is a legal conflict, not religious at all.

With this now, I will turn to the question of water in UNESCO. At UNESCO we have a program called “Intergovernmental Hydrological Program,” IHP. It was founded in 1975, following the decay of hydrology 1965 to 1974. So, the intergovernmental cooperation program is the only international and intergovernmental cooperation program in the UN system. It is at UNESCO. Beside this, it has an intergovernmental council that meets every year. The purpose is the cooperation between member states within the question of water aquifers and everything. There is what we call the World Water Forum; the next one is the tenth World Water Forum; it will take place in Bali, Indonesia next May. So, this means that UNESCO is in charge also of the cooperation around water, which is the main principle in the Oasis Plan. The question of water, if we relate it to the ongoing genocidal war of Israel on Gaza, everybody can recognize clearly that Israel is using water as a weapon. This is what we call weaponization of water. This should be denounced and condemned by the international community. Unfortunately, the international community is watching passively in this regard, which makes it complicit. It has been mentioned that many countries are complicit in this conflict because they are providing weapons just like the U.S.; this is active complicity. But there is also the passive complicity of those who do not condemn and do not apply any pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to stop the weaponization of water in the ongoing conflict.

The most important thing to keep in mind now is that UNESCO as a specialized organization is in charge of different fields. And all fields of competence of UNESCO have been targetted or destroyed even by the ongoing Israeli aggression. I mentioned that UNESCO is also in charge of the safety of journalists as well as the freedom of expression. You know that the number of journalists killed in Gaza, which now reaches something like 133 journalists killed in Gaza. This number is about 10% of the total number of journalists in Gaza; which is unprecedented in any conflict worldwide. Even during the First and Second World Wars, no percentage has been that high. If you take the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the number of journalists killed doesn’t exceed 30 journalists, knowing that there are thousands, it means the percentage doesn’t even reach 1%. So, this means that Israel is targetting journalists. We have information that they are targetting journalists with the use of artificial intelligence. They are not only targetting journalists, but they are targetting also media centers. Why especially journalists and media centers? Because they don’t want international witnesses; they don’t want to show the world what they are committing as crimes against humanity; these are crimes against humanity.

So, I’ll give you other example with the ongoing conflict. For example, whenever a European country changes its position or its language regarding the ongoing conflict. Remember what Madame Zepp-LaRouche mentioned that the world at the beginning had so much sympathy with Israel after the 7th of October? Day by day, week after week, they started changing their position while watching the Israeli atrocities in Gaza. So, the Israeli army is targetting any witness. That’s why the World Central Kitchen was targetted. For the cultural centers also, they targetted the French cultural center. Probably we can explain it, because it was hit one day after a declaration made by President Macron, who was telling Israel that they were exaggerating. The next day, the French cultural center was hit; completely destroyed, and the offices of Agence France-Presse were hit in the building. They did not destroy the building, only the offices of Agence France-Presse. So, journalists, media centers are targetted.

Now, cultural centers are targetted. For the moment, I’m talking about the structures that are in the fields of competence of UNESCO. So, we’ll come back now to one of the main fields of UNESCO, which is education and schools. More than 204 schools have been completely destroyed or mostly destroyed. Universities; six universities have been completely destroyed, and all of them have been partially destroyed. The world heritage and national heritage sites were also destroyed. We are talking about something like more than 250-some; some sources mention 300. Whatever it is, it’s absolutely incredible and unprecedented. This shows the Israeli intention to eradicate not only the Palestinian people, but the Palestinian history and the Palestinian memory through these destructions.

When I talk about world heritage sites, it includes also mosques and churches. One of the oldest churches in the world, which is San Porphyrius has been targetted and it has been completely destroyed. The Great Omari Mosque in Gaza as well has been completely destroyed, knowing that this mosque was a Byzantine church in the past and before that, it was a Roman temple. Which means it is part of the heritage of humanity; it is not only for Palestinians. Many other sites; the al-Basha Palace which is also an historic place where Napoleon spent three nights, and Sibat[ph] and so on. The old fort of Gaza, Anthedon, has also been destroyed. The list is too long; I’m not going to mention all that have been destroyed. The theaters and the cinemas and the museums and the musical studios, etc.

In addition to all this, there are the people who are running these structures. We are not talking about them. We talk about 33,400-some people killed, but 17,000 were children, it was mentioned. Everybody mentioned children and women, but nobody mentions students and teachers and university professors and deans and musicians and artists. For example, Professor Tayeh, who was UNESCO chair in Gaza, was killed in his house together with his family. All this shows the intention of Israel to eradicate the memory and the history of the population; not only the population. This is the most important thing to keep in mind.

Unfortunately, if we try to examine what could be done, this is the huge challenge. After this huge destruction of all that I mentioned—schools, universities, world heritage sites, cultural centers, and so on. The reconstruction; and here we can come back to the Oasis Plan. Not to the plan itself, not to the project itself, but to the principles behind this project, which is economic development that may lead to peace and prosperity. But, Professor Hassassian mentioned something; there are some prerequisites to apply this. The prerequisite is political before all. Everybody insists on the two-state solution, but meanwhile, those who mention it regularly—like European countries—German and France are in favor of the two-state solution. But meanwhile, they do not recognize the two states; they recognize only one state over two. So, maybe we should start by this recognition of the two states. Then everything would be possible, I think this the prerequisite number one.

Number two, and it related to number one, is equal rights for everybody. This is also a prerequisite. And number three, that nobody is above international law. Unfortunately, so far Israel is above all laws and international law. So, maybe the first step in order to be able to implement such a huge plan like the Oasis Plan, maybe the European countries and the international community should start first by recognizing the Palestinian state; second applying serious pressure on Israel to stop its regular aggressions that have been mentioned by Professor Hassassian, not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank.

I think that with this I can stop, and I think it resumes the whole problem. There are no next steps without the recognition of the state of Palestine. This is a prerequisite at this stage; otherwise, we will return to the status quo that has been applied since the Oslo Accords almost 30 years ago. That’s why I think we should change completely the paradigm, and we should start by the recognition of the state of Palestine. Then, everything will be possible and the implementation of the Oasis Plan will be possible. Thank you so much.

SPEED: Thank you, Mr. Anastas. We now will be hearing from Her Excellency, Beryl Rose Sisulu, South African Ambassador to Mexico.

BERYL ROSE SISULU: Esteemed delegates, distinguished guests, as we gather here today at the International Conference organized by the Schiller Institute, I am honored to address you on behalf of the Republic of South Africa. This occasion, which coincides with significant milestones in our nation’s history, prompts us to reflect on the journey we have traversed, the challenges we have overcome, and the path we envision for the future.

Thirty years ago, on 27 April 1994, South Africa celebrated a momentous occasion—the first democratic elections. This pivotal moment marked the culmination of a long and arduous struggle against apartheid—a struggle fuelled by the unwavering commitment of our people to justice, equality, and freedom. As we commemorate three decades of democracy, it is imperative that we impart the lessons of our past to the younger generation, inspiring them to safeguard our hard-won freedom and to remain vigilant against any threat to our democratic values.

The theme of this conference, “Development as the necessary framework for peace,” resonates deeply with the journey of South Africa. Our experience underscores the intrinsic link between development and peace, recognizing that sustainable peace can only flourish in societies where development is nurtured and inclusive growth is fostered. Moreover, as we reflect on the words of Nelson Mandela, we are reminded of the fundamental aspirations shared by all humanity: the desire for safety, livelihood, health, and education. It is incumbent upon us, as global citizens, to work tirelessly towards realizing these aspirations for all.

In celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mexico and South Africa, we acknowledge the shared values and mutual commitments that underpin our partnership. From promoting democratic principles to advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our collaboration epitomizes the spirit of solidarity and cooperation that is essential for addressing the pressing challenges of our time. The robust trade relations between our nations underscore the immense potential for further collaboration and economic synergy, paving the way for shared prosperity and mutual benefit.

As we navigate the complexities of the contemporary world, marked by conflicts and crises, we are reminded of the imperative to unite in pursuit of peace. From Gaza to Ukraine, and beyond, the quest for peace knows no borders and requires collective action rooted in dialogue, empathy, and understanding. It is incumbent upon us to champion the cause of peace, to advocate for diplomacy over discord, and to build bridges of cooperation that transcend ideological divides.

Let us reaffirm our commitment to the noble ideals of peace, development and global harmony. Let us draw inspiration from the resilience of our forebears and the aspirations of future generations. Together, let us forge a better world—one where justice reigns, prosperity abounds, and peace prevails. Now, continuing from our discussion on the imperative nexus between development and peace, I wish to delve deeper into the significance of peace within the context of South Africa—a nation that has traversed a tumultuous path towards democracy and inclusivity.

Nelson Mandela’s words resonate profoundly with our understanding of peace and development. He articulated that true development hinges upon education—a sentiment echoed by leaders worldwide. Education not only empowers individuals but also cultivates the critical thinking, empathy, and social cohesion essential for nurturing peaceful societies. Furthermore, Mandela’s assertion that real leaders must be willing to sacrifice for the freedom of their people underscores the profound commitment required to forge a path towards peace and development.

In the South African context, peace holds paramount importance for several compelling reasons, each intricately intertwined with our nation’s historical legacy and contemporary aspirations:

Firstly, our tumultuous past, marred by apartheid and our violent struggle for liberation, underscores the centrality of peace in our journey towards democracy and development. The peaceful negotiations led by Mandela and other visionary leaders exemplify the transformative power of dialogue and reconciliation in overcoming entrenched divisions and fostering national unity.

Secondly, peace serves as the bedrock of social cohesion and unity in our culturally diverse nation. By embracing our differences and celebrating our shared humanity, we forge a common identity rooted in mutual respect and understanding.

Thirdly, peace is indispensable for driving economic prosperity. A peaceful environment attracts investment, stimulates economic growth, and creates opportunities for all citizens to thrive. By investing in education, infrastructure, and innovation, we lay the foundation for sustainable development and shared prosperity.

Fourthly, peace plays a pivotal role in shaping our international relations and promoting regional, continental, and global stability. A peaceful South Africa serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for the African continent, fostering cooperation and dialogue among nations.

Fifthly, peace facilitates healing and trauma recovery, allowing individuals and communities to confront the legacies of our past and embrace a future defined by reconciliation and forgiveness.

Peace is essential for safeguarding our communities against violence and crime, ensuring that all citizens can live in safety and security and, let me make clear that peace in South Africa is not merely the absence of conflict; it is the cornerstone of our collective aspirations for progress, prosperity, and social justice.

Esteemed delegates, South Africa has made significant strides in improving the well-being of its citizens since the transition to democracy in the mid-1990s. However, it is imperative to acknowledge the persistent challenges that hinder our progress. The percentage of the population living below the upper-middle-income country poverty line has shown concerning trends, rising from 56% in 2010 to an estimated 62.7% in 2023.

These trends are exacerbated by structural challenges and weak growth, further exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rising unemployment rates, especially among youth, pose a severe constraint on household welfare and economic prosperity. (The official unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2023 was 32.1%.)

High inequality perpetuates a cycle of exclusion by limiting the potential for inclusive growth that benefits all citizens. This cycle is sustained by a legacy of exclusion and the nature of economic growth, which fails to prioritize the needs of the poor and fails to create enough job opportunities. Moreover, wealth inequality exacerbates the situation, and low intergenerational mobility means that inequalities persist across generations with minimal change over time.

In the face of these challenges, South Africa remains steadfast in its commitment to peace and development, both domestically and across the African continent. Aligned with the visionary Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU): The Africa We Want, our nation is guided by principles that prioritize inclusive growth, unity, good governance, peace, security, and the preservation of cultural heritage. By upholding these principles, we lay the foundation for a future defined by peace, prosperity, and collective well-being.

Furthermore, South Africa recognizes the significance of initiatives like the Oasis Plan, which aims to address global warming by restoring and improving soil quality. This project, a continuation of the Emission Zero Global Initiative, envisions the creation of a permanent rain forest in the north of Africa, where some of the most arid regions in the world are located. Through participation in initiatives like the Oasis Plan, South Africa can contribute to regional climate stability and biodiversity, aligning with our commitment to sustainable development and environmental conservation. At the halfway mark towards the 2050 Global Development Agenda, our country is still confronted by challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment, and the devastating effects of climate change. The SDGs provide a plan that resonates with other regional, national, continental, and intercontinental development agendas.

Over the past four years, the world has experienced several crises, including the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturns, increasing climate change impacts, and political instability. South Africa has made positive strides towards improving livelihoods, increasing access to basic services, and reducing CO2 emissions. Despite challenges such as electricity shortages, South Africa remains committed to sustainable development and inclusive growth through collaborative efforts. “Development is the necessary framework for peace” resonates deeply with the journey of South Africa. Our experience underscores the intrinsic link between development and peace, recognizing that sustainable peace can only flourish in societies where development is nurtured and inclusive growth is fostered.

In conclusion, amongst the trials of a post-pandemic era and the looming specter of environmental crises, South Africa stands steadfast in its commitment to fostering peace and driving development, not only for its own citizens, but for the entire Africa and global community. We pledge unwavering dedication to an integrated development agenda, collaborating with partners across society to propel forward the national development plan Agenda 2063, and the UN sustainable development goals. In doing so, we strive to kindle hope and realize aspirations of all South Africans and individuals worldwide. I thank you.

SPEED: Thank you. We are going to be having a Q&A period; we are running a little bit behind time, but there will be time to ask questions.

We now have as our next speaker His Excellency Donald Ramotar, former President of Guyana. Welcome.

DONALD RAMOTAR: Thank you very much for inviting me to participate with your distinguished panel on a very important topic.

We are meeting at a time when our world has never been so close to a terrible disaster of nuclear conflict that can liquidate the whole world. At the same time, I think we are meeting here too when there are the contours of great possibilities that have developed on the international horizon that can take our people out of poverty and into a period of development and peace.

The dangers that exist in the world are obvious. The two main issues on our agenda today are Israeli attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and possibly everywhere. And two, the second danger is the proxy war that is being waged against Russia with Ukraine being used as that proxy. This is a particularly dangerous situation since NATO has in its ranks three nuclear powers, and Russia itself is a powerful nuclear power as well.

This danger has its origins since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the beginning of the 1990s when, despite the assurances of the Western nations not to move NATO one inch from present-day Germany, it has gone more than 1,000 miles. And now, it is on the border with Russia itself. Unfortunately, instead of seeing this as an opportunity for peace, the U.S. began to see this as a chance to constantly base itself as the only superpower and the number one power in our world. I want to just recall for some of you who would know in the middle 1990s, Paul Wolfowitz expressed the view that the U.S. must not miss this opportunity in order to ensure its domination over the world. He said, our objective is to present the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union, or elsewhere. This is our dominant consideration on the line of new vigilant defense strategy, and requires that we endeavor to prevent any power from dominating our region whose resurgence would be sufficient to generate global power.

So, very clearly since the middle ’90s, this idea of domination was there among the United States in particular, but in NATO allies as well. That explains the attack against Yugoslavia, the attack against Iraq, the attack in Afghanistan, and the destruction of Libya and all of that. Recall too, that they have abandoned all questions of peace, decency, and human rights. In 1996, Madeleine Albright in an interview that she had, she said that the sanctions they had put on Iraq that killed more than half a million children was worth it. They have absolutely abandoned all pretense of human rights and any type of decency in order to constantly be in control of the world as a whole. This is a super kind of colonial status that is being experienced, mainly dominated by the United States, but also in partnership with some NATO countries that are playing the role of junior partner.

The provocation against Russia is also instructive to follow in the sense that all the time they had well-prepared the economic sanctions. The economic sanctions that have been used against Cuba for more than 60 years, causing terrible hardship for the people there, and against many other countries. Remember too that just before the Russian special military operation, that there was an issue in which we could have had peace, and this war was totally unnecessary. But we had the indecency of the betrayal of Russia; the deception by Germany and France, who had guaranteed the Minsk Accord, but said that they had done that only to give time for NATO’s Ukraine to build up itself as a NATO power. Recall too that it was Jens Stoltenberg who, on the eve was threatening Russia, and he said that they were prepared for the invasion. He said, we in NATO have over 100 jets on high alert; 120 allied ships at sea from the high North Sea to the Mediterranean; 7 airborne divisions in Europe. Plus, the U.S. sent more than 1000 troops to the Baltic. All of this was done to persuade Zelenskyy that he should have no agreement with Russia, and instead he should go to war and defeat the Russians.

This kind of mentality explains the U.S. attitude towards China as well, because if you pursue every single policy statement or line or action by the Chinese government, you will see that China has never threatened anyone, never threatened the United States or anything. But particularly since the end of 2008, after the financial crisis and China emerged as such a powerful economic player on the international scene, China has now been identified as a danger to that plan of total domination.

All of this has also led to another fact; countries are beginning to take other actions to try to counter some of these measures. Those countries that have some strong regard for their sovereignty have been taking actions to prevent their domination. This is where our discussions today on the Oasis Plan, which was a plan with a lot of foresight that came about at a time long before the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. But which had great thinking behind it. Some of the elements in that plan are now in some of the plans that are being put forward today as an alternative to the unipolar world. That has come about because the BRICS is offering some hope, although there are still a lot of uncertainties among the BRICS countries, there seems to be some type of resilience in it, and they are creating possibilities to create a more multipolar world that will also create the possibility for countries that want to carry out their plans themselves. We called in the late 1950s, the ’60s, and ’70s the Non-Aligned Movement has grown. That was the same type of aspiration that gave rise to the leaders who founded that movement, who wanted to have an opportunity to exercise their independence without being dominated by any outside force. However, they down too with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Just the BRICS since then has now offering it as a possibility. That possibility comes about by their having the possibility of trading in their own currencies and the possibility of developing new currencies, coupled with the Belt and Road Initiative that I mentioned from China which began developing the infrastructure of many countries, both developing and developed countries particularly important for Africa that has such a great deficiency in infrastructure development and that can help to see progress.

Because the idea, as was mentioned here just before by many of the previous speakers, that there is a direct link between economic and social progress and between world peace and development. Peace generally and development. But we cannot have these plans without peace. That is why I say that peace is probably the most important thing. But for a sustained peace, we have to have social and economic progress which the BRICS countries have been offering us.

The success of the new venture is greatly dependent on how we manage to preserve peace and try to hold back the hands of those who want to drive the world into war just in order for them to control the economy and lives of people everywhere else. It is obvious that the governments of the West lack leadership today. If you look at the leadership in the Western powers, it is practically pathetic to see some of the most developed countries in the world that have leadership that is clearly wanting. There is a lack of vision and not working towards peace and not working in the interests of humanity as a whole. That hope only comes from China and from the BRICS countries that are trying to create their authorities.

While the world is in great danger, we also see the possibility of lasting peace through socio-economic progress. This position is recognized by most thinkers on the issue. Those who are opposed to it—imperialism—represent a socio-economic system that in my view has outlived its usefulness. It is important for us to recognize that, and to recognize that to fight against that there is no shortcut. But mobilizing masses of people and getting them involved in every way to try to hold back the hands of these people who seem to have lost control of their own actions because of the logic of capital profits; because of who they represent. Who they represent is the military-industry complex, the companies that destroy our environment like oil companies, mining companies and so forth. These are the people who actually control the levers of power. The only way we can fight against that is to organize masses in the streets to help us. Thank you for your attention.

SPEED: Thank you very much, President Ramotar. That’s President Donald Ramotar, former President of Guyana.

We’re going to–for a moment–one of our earlier speakers, Dr. Manuel Hassassian, unavoidably has to leave, and Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche wanted to shortly address him before we continue with our presentations.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I want to thank actually both Ambassadors of Palestine for sharing your deep-felt experiences with us, which I think the world needs to know. I would just like to basically make the point that you mentioned the need to have a political solution first, and that is exactly what the Oasis Plan is trying to put on a different level: Because all the debates, in the United Nations and other fora, which demanded the political solution first, did not accomplish what was intended. And it is our view that we have to have an absolute, ironclad commitment to an economic development plan as the precondition to move the political situation.

Now, when the Oslo Accord was signed, Lyndon LaRouche, my husband, was emphatically saying the only way it could succeed would be to put shovels in the ground, to immediately start earth-moving machines, so that the people on the ground would see that there is an improvement of their immediately life situation, and that was not done, because at that point the World Bank denied the kind of credit that would have been necessary, and, as we all know, the Oslo Accord did not succeed.

So, since the whole purpose of this conference is to put together, especially when we hear the other speakers and the second panel, we want to put together a very concrete sort of bunch of economic flowers—you know, development project flowers. Then take the result of this conference, to go to all governments of the world and other institutions, so try to get the kind of support. Because, I personally think that the only way how we will be able to implement that, is if we get an emergency conference, a comprehensive Mideast conference, as it was for example, mentioned early on by China. To my knowledge, unfortunately they did not concretize it very much since. But it is still the idea that you have to have a comprehensive Mideast conference, and, I think the tradition of the Peace of Westphalia is the most suitable precedence; and then discuss what would be the vision for all of the region.

Because, I think you have to break the cycle of violence and despair. And if there would be a vision of how Southwest Asia would look in 20, 50, even 100 years, being a fully developed, modern area with green forests and agricultural fields, where now there is desert, new cities, integrated infrastructure, and then have the vision that all the young people should become scientists, engineers, teachers, farmers, that they would see a reason why it would make sense to study, to have a family, to build their careers, to have a normal life, I think to inject that sense of hope in the young people is almost a precondition for this project to succeed.

So, I think the vision of economic improvement is an absolutely essential ingredient for getting peace and finding a political solution. And I would like to thank you very much for your participation, and I would hope you would help us to continue this organizing for this project, even beyond this conference.

AMBASSADOR HASSASSIAN: Can I make a simple contribution before I leave, just in reaction to Madam LaRouche’s of course, eloquent presentation and ideas:

Thank you so much for your concern about our conflict, because, as you know, the fulcrum of instability in the Middle East lies in the solution of the Palestinian problem.

I can understand par excellence the economic development, how it could be catalytic in its effect to any negotiated process between two countries that are legitimately, mutually, respect each other, and try to find a plausible solution for sustaining peace and that longevity of peace is based on economic integration and development. That cannot be underestimated. But we cannot, really, come to talk about economic development with two negotiators, let’s say, one is the “top dog” and the other one is the underdog. So we cannot have negotiations between occupier and occupied, and talk about economic development. Economic development could be a catalyst to improve ongoing negotiations that are based on mutual reciprocity and respect. But when there is no dignified respect between two contending parties, then there result would be a dismal failure.

And, of course, I want to add one simple sentence that I always do: There will be never a military solution to our conflict. Israel has won so many wars, but could not bring peace and security, neither to Israel nor to the Middle East. So, what I say, the only way out, is negotiations, mutual respect, inclusivity and not exclusivity, and the idea of accepting each other on an equal footing is the only way to progress towards peace and security.

Thank you so much for inviting me. Again, I wanted to conclude with some positive remarks, that war will never, will never bring peace. Peace will bring stability and economic prosperity.

Thank you so much.

AMBASSADOR ANASTAS: Thank you so much, also. Thank you, Madam.

SPEED: All right. We’re going to resume. I would just–although as a moderator I’m not supposed to intervene–I would just point out that an intensive and extensive discussion of this variety is only available because of what the international Schiller Institute is doing. If possible, we certainly would wish to sponsor more in-depth discussion, which went on for quite a longer period of time, and there are many, many people, particularly in the United States who would deeply appreciate and benefit from that. The shocking situation that exists, and at the same time, the shocking capability, prospect for changing it: So thank you, gentlemen, very, very much for being with us, and if you can stay longer, please do.

We’re going to resume our speakers. Our next speaker is Dr. Connie Rahakundini Bakrie, lecturer and strategic analyst from Indonesia.

DR. CONNIE RAHAKUNDINI BAKRIE: Thank you very much. First I would like to thank Madam LaRouche for the invitation and the inspiring opening speech, and my deep appreciation for the Schiller Institute for inviting me here. And then, allow me to discuss the biggest topic that we discuss tonight.

I would like to talk about the Mission in Southwest Asia, Common Characteristics, because this is the first issue.

I think in the Middle East, there are several common characteristics, including historical and cultural ties. Philip Carl Salman, professor of anthropology at McGill University, states that peace is not possible in the Middle East because values and goals other than peace are more important to Middle Easterners. Loyalty to kin, class, and culture, and the honor of it is won by such loyalty.

Relationships between descent groups actually always oppositional in principle, because tribes as a whole seeing themselves in opposition to other tribes. The strongest political norm among tribesmen was loyalty. One must always support closer kin against more distant kin. Loyalty was rewarded with honor. Not supporting your kin was dishonorable. And because of that Mamoun Fandy wrote: “We are the people of blood relations and family ties or ‘Shalal'...” He maintains that Islamic history begins as an intellectual revolution, but there it was transferred somewhat into a tribal state. This means (as he said) that “we now have a history of tribes instead of a history of ideas.”

And that because of that I come to think about Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire never tried to divide them with or by a demarcation line. And Jerusalem enjoyed a special status during the period of Islamic rule, because of its religious status and it was ruled by the Ottomans for 400 years (1516-1917).

The Ottoman Empire was official abolished in 1923. Meanwhile, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, as mentioned before, and for the sake of this declaration would rally Jewish opinion, especially in the United States, to the side of the Allied powers against the Central Powers during World War I (1914-1918). President Harry Truman was sympathetic to Zionism, and endorsed the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine, to create an Arab state and a Jewish state. This happened despite the opposition from within the administration, and recognized the state of Israel on May 14, 1948.

Fast forward sad stories after that: Turks, Arabs, Iranians have launched military campaigns to suppress Kurds. Christians, Yazidis, Baha’is, and Jews continue to be ethnically cleansed. And Arabs and Persians, and Sunnis and Shi’a, each try to gain power over the other in competition that has been one of the main underlying factors in the Southwest Asia war.

So, Where To Start?

If I mention about somewhere to start I think let’s talk about United States, because, as I mentioned just now about Truman.

President Clinton has made over 175 telephone calls to heads of state in direct support of the Middle East peace process, plus made 6 visits to the region. And the President also hosted a number of meetings and summits in the United States to move the process forward: for example, the Israel-Syria talks at Shepherdstown in 1999; the Wye River meetings in 1998; the 1995 Washington Summit; the 1994 signing of the Washington Declaration by Israel and Jordan, and this is a very significant piece because it ended the war; and the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 for the historic handshake between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Chairman Yasser Arafat.

In countries that lack monarchies or strong political institutions, ISIS rises to power and exploiting power in Iraq, in Syria and in Libya to carry out serious crimes against humanity. So, even though President Trump’s great achievement with the Abraham Accords and normalization were accomplished with a larger vision for social and economic reform, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco pursued the peace agreement as part of a broader regional efforts to countering extremist mobilization and stabilizing the region after confronting tough challenges from the Arab Spring.

So I think we have to discuss now about

Carrying the Weight of the World on One, or Two, Shoulders?

Peace must mean—legitimate rights for Palestinians, and real security for Israel. This must begin with something even more basic: British stated this, then British has to take full responsibility. The Balfour Declaration is widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, when Zionist armed groups were trained by the British.

France, on the other hand, as like mentioned by Madam [inaud s/l Brosiger 1:38:26] being in Sykes-Picot, also involved and announced its support prior to the issuing of the Balfour Declaration. In May 1917, a letter from Jules Cambon, a French diplomat, to Nahum Sokolow, a Polish Zionist, expressed the sympathetic views of the French government towards “Jewish colonization in Palestine.” The letter was seen as a precursor to the Balfour Declaration.

The Balfour Document Is Very Controversial, because

First, it was, as Palestinian-American academic Edward Said stated: “Made by a European power ... about a non-European territory ... disregarding both the presence and wishes of the native majority resident in that territory.”

Second, the declaration was one of three conflicting wartime promises made by the British. When it was released, Britain had already promised the Arabs independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1915. The British also promised the French, in a separate treaty known as the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, that the majority of Palestine would be under international administration, while the rest of the region would be split between the two colonial powers after the war. The declaration, however, meant that Palestine would come under British occupation and that the Palestinian Arabs who lived there would not ever gain independence.

Third, the declaration introduced a nation that was reportedly unprecedented in international law—that of a “national home.” The use of the vague term “national home” for the Jewish people, as opposed to “state,” left the meaning open to any interpretation.

So, now we have to hear what Indonesia’s position is:

Indonesia’s defense of Palestine from Israeli colonialism is actually the only one in the world: it’s implemented of the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution that we have. In essence, it condemns all forms of colonialism and is committed to bringing peace and continuing President Soekarno’s firm stance.

Therefore, Indonesia needs to be ready politically, militarily, diplomatically and financially. Noted: Indonesia does not have the capability to project the military power that far, to that area. Not to mention that we are embarrassingly outgunned.

So “Centrality of the Palestinian Cause” vs Actions of Individual Countries

I think the leading Islamic powers set out to achieve the semblance of a united front on the vital issue of Palestine, but it has only managed to reinforce prevailing divisions. The important point to note is that while the joint statement has argued for the “centrality of the Palestinian cause” as the precondition to regional peace and stability, the actions of individual countries reveal their national and geo-strategic interests, and not the Palestinian cause.

Finally, it is the character that ultimately makes all the difference. We have seen throughout human history that nations rise, development, thrive, gain strength, and overcome great challenges ultimate with the strength of their character, not necessarily with their material stockpile.

Unfortunately, Al Jazeera once stated that most Muslim countries are ruled by corrupt, autocratic, despotic, no-good rulers. Hoping Indonesia will “do something significant” because we are one of the biggest Muslim countries in the world, I think we will face a long and steep road domestically, so what Indonesia can do, actually, in my opinion, is first to encourage the UN to take the source of all the problem, how to make England and France to sit down and seriously think about a solution, because whatever it is, they are both countries that started it. So it doesn’t concentrate on Islamic countries and the Southwest Asian countries themselves, but on the two former colonialists and the biggest root causes of this war.

So I think the biggest homework that they have, is overcoming nervousness on the issue of confidence-building strategy of the UN to do something to the French and the British. This is my point. Thank you. [Emphasis in original text]

SPEED: Thank you, Dr. Bakrie. That is Dr. Connie Rahakundini Bakrie, lecturer and strategic analyst from Indonesia.

Our next speaker is Pavel Shidlovsky, Chargé d’Affaires of the nation of Belarus the United States. Welcome, sir: Happy to have you here.

PAVEL SHIDLOVSKY: Thank you, so much.

“Belarusian Perspective of for Dialogue, Security, Peace and Development”:

I would like to thank the leadership of the International Schiller Institute for convening this important and timely Conference. I appreciate the professional, profound, nuanced and sober presentations of the distinguished speakers on the issues, which are on top of the agenda of world policymakers and which define the future world order.

I fully agree with the statement of the Conference organizers that it falls to us to ensure that every life in the world is sacred, that international law must prevail to prevent genocide, and that economic development must be the engine for peace. We in Belarus adhere to the same approach.

I am pleased and honored to have this opportunity to present the vision of Belarus on the topics of our today’s Panel: Dialogue, Security, Peace and Development—with special focus on Southwest Asia.

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