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Helga Zepp-LaRouche Keynote to Oasis Plan Seminar in Denmark

Stop the Killing and Start Rebuilding Gaza and the Region with the Oasis Plan—The LaRouche Solution for Peace through Development

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

TOM GILLESBERG: Welcome, everybody. I am Tom Gillesberg, chairman of the Schiller Institute in Denmark. I have the pleasure of being the moderator at our event, “Stop the Killing and Start Rebuilding Gaza and the Region with the Oasis Plan—the LaRouche Solution for Peace through Development.”

These are the times when you wake up in the morning and you’re happy you wake up, and then you check the news to see, did it get any worse overnight? We have already since the 7th of October seen almost 35,000 deaths in Gaza, that is those are the ones that are registered, not just hidden under the rubble. Almost 80,000 have been severely wounded, and you have to remember, 40% of all these are children, a lot of women. It’s civilians being slaughtered: It’s a genocide. It’s not just me saying it—it was the International Court of Justice already over three months ago said that what we see in Gaza is a plausible genocide against the Palestinians. Unfortunately, it has not been stopped. Governments, like my own say, “No, we follow whatever the U.S. is doing, and they say we shouldn’t do anything. So, we don’t do anything.” The bombs are still being shipped in massive amounts. You wonder how is this going to end, because what we see now with the Israeli army going into Rafah, of course, we don’t know what will come out of it, but one thing we do know is that the last lifeline of supplies going into Gaza has now been cut.

You ask, how is this all going to end? For this reason, I think it’s extremely, extremely timely for this seminar. We have some very remarkable speakers. First, we’ll hear Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and international president of the Schiller Institute. She was the wife and decades-long collaborator of the late American economist and statesman, Lyndon LaRouche. I will not spend an hour to tell you all that she’s been engaged in, and is engaged in. She will be on first, online from Germany, speaking on “The Oasis Plan: Peace Only through Development.”

Then, we have His Excellency, Prof. Dr. Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador to Denmark, but also formerly ambassador to the U.K. for ten years, also ambassador to Hungary. He has a Masters degree in international relations from the University of Toledo, Ohio; a PhD in political science from the University of Cincinnati. He was also Executive Vice President of Bethlehem University in the West Bank; professor at the University of Maryland, where he developed a course on Israeli-Palestine conflict resolution, and was the PLO’s chief advisor on the status of Jerusalem. After Helga speaks and we have some Q&A with her, he will speak on “Stop the Killing, and Start the Rebuilding.”

Then we’ll have a short break, and after that, we will have the third speaker, Hussein Askary, the Schiller Institute Southwest Asia Coordinator, who is also a co-author of “Extending the New Silk Road to Southwest Asia and Africa.” He comes recently from a visit to China, where he got great insights which he thinks also will be very, very useful for the rebuilding not of Gaza, not only of Palestine, but of the whole Southwest Asia region. He will speak on “The Impossible Is Self-Imposed: Peace through Economic Development Is the Only Way Forward in Southwest Asia.”

We will be recording the speeches, and we also do want free and frank discussion, so whatever people contribute in the discussion process will not be published unless people give their explicit consent. Since we have only a limited amount of people here for security reasons, we want to be able to publish the speeches and get these very, very important ideas out to a much wider audience.

We will now start with Helga Zepp-LaRouche speaking on “The Oasis Plan: Peace Only through Development.”

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I want to greet all of you. As Tom just said, these conferences of the Oasis Plan come at a dramatic moment in history. Hamas announced in a statement yesterday that they accepted the agreement for a truce with Israel, including the exchange of hostages and prisoners, as was put forward by the Egyptian and Qatari mediators. But within hours of Hamas announcing the success of the hostage truce negotiations, Israeli war planes pounded targets in the Palestinian city of Rafah. Israel also sent in ground forces to capture the Palestinian side of the crucial border crossing with Egypt, Axios reporter Barak Ravid is reporting, citing sources with solid knowledge of the developments. Last night around 8 pm local time (UTC+3), Netanyahu’s office announced that the War Cabinet had unanimously decided that Israel will continue its operation in Rafah in order to exert military pressure on Hamas in order to promote the release of the hostages and other goals of the war. Around 10 pm local time, Netanyahu’s office stated that the ceasefire proposal, part of Israel’s necessary requirements, yet they will send a delegation of working class mediators to exhaust the possibility of reaching an agreement under the conditions acceptable to Israel.

As the bombs were falling on Rafah, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller explained that the U.S. cannot support a full-scale attack on Rafah, as it would lead to additional loss of life and disrupt the humanitarian aid deliveries. “We do not support Israel launching a full-scale military operation in Rafah, as the incursion would make it incredibly difficult to sustain the increase in humanitarian assistance that we have been delivering so far.”

What is happening in Rafah is the beginning of the offensive which threatens to bring a catastrophe for at least 1 million people. They were warned by leaflets and phone calls to go to Khan Younis, a city which is already completely devastated, without any services at all! “’Friends are paralysed with fear, not knowing if they should stay in other areas of Rafah until the last minute or leave now. This is barbaric psychological warfare on top of the ongoing massacres.'” This is absolutely intolerable. This was the statement sent with the message by independent journalist Vanessa Beeley yesterday.

Netanyahu had said earlier that he would go through with the offensive, whether or not Hamas agrees to the deal, and obviously the only power which could stop this is the United States. But President Biden left it with rather inefficient appeals.

Now, this is connected obviously to the internal situation inside the United States. Because the reason for the very ferocious crackdown on U.S. students, who had protested in over 100 universities and over 2,000 were arrested, with many being kicked out of the universities, reflects the panic of the establishment over losing control over the whole Israeli narrative. Because according to recent polls, 50% of the young people between 18 and 29 years old believe that Israel is committing genocide. Since this is an election year, the Western establishment and the U.S. in particular fear for their personal political future.

It is totally clear that the people in Gaza who are suffering through this incredible situation, and even many Jewish people all over the world, and many others, are absolutely horrified by what’s going on. They are saying, you can’t discuss right now an Oasis Plan, because we have to first stop the fighting, we have to have a ceasefire, we have to have humanitarian aid to save lives. And other people are saying: No, we must first have a political solution; only then can we think about economic development.

Let me give you the reasons why we think that the Oasis Plan must be put on the agenda, in spite of all the arguments being made, or even because of them: Because the situation in Gaza is part of a strategic situation which is right now, as we are sitting here speaking, on the verge of an escalation into a potentially global nuclear war. President Putin a few days ago ordered the maneuver of the training of the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Southern Military District. The aim obviously is to guarantee the territorial integrity of Russia, in reaction to a whole series of very provocative statements and threats coming from Western officials against the Russian Federation. This rehearsal of the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons is in reaction to the following recent developments: First, Macron, who again after he said that already some weeks ago, on May 2 in The Economist, repeated that France would send French troops to Ukraine. He also said that he wants to keep what the policy of France and NATO is towards Russia, ambiguous about the French intention, to leave Russia guessing. Then, the British Foreign Minister Cameron, said that Ukraine has the right to use the British weapons, including missiles which have long-range capabilities, to strike targets on Russian territory. Then from the United States, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D), said, “We can’t allow Ukraine to lose. If it looks like they are losing, then we not only have to send money, but also send servicewomen and servicemen into Ukraine.”

Now, the Russian Foreign Ministry just informed all NATO countries that the Russian Army will identify any modification of the F-16 fighter to Ukraine as a nuclear weapons carrier. If an F-16 aircraft is deployed in Ukraine, Russia assumes that NATO is planning a provocation against Russia, because Russia classifies the aircraft as a dual-use: non-nuclear and nuclear. These aircraft have long been the main armament for NATO’s joint nuclear mission. Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated yesterday that U.K. Ambassador Nigel Casey was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to receive a strong protest over the recent statements by U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron. He was told that Moscow considers Cameron’s words strong evidence of the serious escalation of the U.K.’s deepening involvement in military action against Russia. Casey was warned that Russia could respond to the use of U.K. weaponry to attack Russia by targetting any U.K. military facilities and equipment on the territory of Ukraine and beyond. On May 4, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that NATO’s large-scale Steadfast Defender drills are a clear indication that the alliance is preparing for a potential conflict with Russia. “Right now, NATO’s largest exercise since the Cold War, Steadfast Defender, is taking place near Russia’s borders. According to their scenario, coalition actions against Russia are being practiced using all instruments, including hybrid and conventional weapons. We have to admit that NATO is seriously preparing for a ‘potential conflict’ with us, which, by the way, is openly spoken about by high-ranking NATO representatives,” she said.

Various military experts in Europe and elsewhere concur that the Ukrainian Army right now is disintegrating. They expect major gains by Russia in the next weeks, maybe even this month, and that the war will be over by the end of the summer. As a consequence, NATO is in panic, because it would mean a complete loss of the military standing after Afghanistan—other wars ending likewise—and this is why they are engaged in these provocations. They all put out the line among themselves, “Oh, we do not have to worry, because Putin is just bluffing.” But NATO troops in Ukraine, British weapons inside Russia, deployment of nuclear weapons in Ukraine—what the F-16 would be—represent an existential threat for Russia. Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, said, if this happens, these troops—French troops and other troops—will be killed immediately, and tactical nuclear weapons will be launched against the decision-making centers, the U.S. bases in Romania, Poland, France, and Germany.

The U.S. establishment is at this point obviously convinced that they cannot back down, because then the entire NATO would not be viable any longer. But the Russian military doctrine is very clear: When, from their standpoint, when the red lines are crossed, nuclear global war will be the result.

I must add to this escalation in Ukraine, the potential of the war in Gaza to escalate into a regional war involving Israel and Iran, which also could clearly escalate into a global nuclear war as well, since Russia and China could not tolerate a war against Iran, involving U.S., British, and involvement of NATO member states.

Why we have to put the Oasis Plan on the agenda now as a vision is the absolute crucial part of an effort to avoid World War III. The Oasis Plan conception is a way to understand why only the thinking in a completely New Paradigm can get humanity away from the abyss. We have to overcome geopolitics. The idea that the rise of the Global South, the BRICS+, which is already the Global Majority representing 70% of the world GDP and 80% of the global population, these majorities of the world are not the enemy of the collective West! We must apply the lesson of the Peace of Westphalia, that if the war continues, nobody will be left alive to enjoy the victory. Therefore, we have to start thinking that we need to have a new international security and development architecture, which takes into account the security and development interests of every single country on the planet. I formulated my Ten Principles as a basis for the discussion of what such a new architecture would imply.

In that context, the Oasis Plan is the regional expression of such a new architecture. If you look at the map, you will see that much of the territory of Southwest Asia is desert, desert, desert. The key to peace, therefore, is the production of large quantities of new, fresh water. My late husband, Lyndon LaRouche, already in 1975 proposed the Oasis Plan, with the idea to build canals between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. Then, with the aid to nuclear energy, to desalinate large amounts of ocean water, make it available for irrigation, make the deserts green, develop agriculture, forestation, basic infrastructure, new cities, and industries. We have to conceptualize the entire region between India and the Mediterranean, the Caucasus and the Gulf as one integrated region, which then, if it is developed, it will become the hub of development between Asia, Africa, and Europe as part of a World Land-Bridge program, which is a plan we already developed in 2014 in response to Xi Jinping announcing the New Silk Road, in which we developed an infrastructure development plan for the entire globe.

There have been in the last ten years since many steps forward in the realization of parts of this plan. For example, China has greened large parts of its territory—actually of the size of the territory of Germany. They almost greened one-third of the Hake Desert in Inner Mongolia, which is basically now becoming an economic cluster of desert tourism, food, and photovoltaics. In the Zhengxiangbai, not far from Beijing, thousands of hectares of forest have been restored on the border between Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia in the Mu Us Shadi desert. Thirty percent of the desert is now covered with vegetation, soil erosion has ceased, and the newly replaced farmland has reached 1.6 million acres, generating tremendous economic benefit for the local farmers, and the Hake Desert model provides an excellent experience for other countries and regions that face desertification problems.

With the most advanced nuclear energy systems now under development in various countries, it will be possible to desalinate large amounts of water equivalent to creating entire new rivers. So, rather than thinking that one has to fight for narrow strips of land at the ocean, by re-conquering the deserts, one can create beautiful landscapes which can resolve the seemingly unsolvable conflicts for territories on a totally different plain. South Korean companies are now building what will become the first operational new scale small modular reactors—so-called SMRs—as part of South Korea’s bid to be the world’s foremost constructor of SMRs. South Korea is no newcomer to nuclear power, and builds its own reactors, like the APR-1400 model, which forms the backbone of its suite of 26 reactors which soon increase to 30. It is in the process of fully completing the nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates, comprising four APR-1400 reactors, three of which are already commercially operating, while the last will be online by the end of this year.

There is also the concept of the European molten salt fast reactor, and various thorium cycle reactor types which have significant safety features and are therefore not controversial.

We are launching this campaign for the Oasis Plan to get an international chorus of forces, of countries, of universities, of think tanks, of individuals demanding its realization. Humanity has come to the most important moment, what German poet Friedrich Schiller called the punctum saliens in a great Classical drama: That is the moment where a decision will decide the entire future of the existence of humanity. A continuation of the same paradigm that we have seen in the last period will lead to the certain annihilation of the entire human species. If we design, however, a completely new architecture, we will hopefully open a new era of mankind.

So, we ask all listeners and viewers to join in this battle for the survival of us all. Thank you.

Q&A Open Discussion

H.E. Ambassador Prof. Dr. Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Denmark: Thank you so much for your eloquent speech. We do understand that the Oasis Plan has been intact for a period of time now, but I don’t know what are the reactions in conflicting zones, when you introduce such a plan to them, while they are at the initial stages of negotiation or conflict, or what have you. What kind of reception do you that people in warring zones would have when they hear such a plan?

I’m just asking you this challenging question because from where I come from, I think for us, it’s more important to have political solutions first, and then thinking about economic development for the sustenance of the longevity of any kind of peace, that could evolve out of the conflict. So I don’t know from other areas of conflict, whether this plan is being appreciated as a prelude to a political or to a conflict resolution.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I mean, the initial reactions are quite interesting. We had a previous Oasis Plan, I think you participated in, where the ambassadors of Russia, of Belarus, and South Africa spoke and were extremely favorable about this perspective. And in many, many hundreds, if not thousands of discussions, the Schiller Institute representatives have in different countries, there is a growing idea that you have to have a complete change in the approach. So I look at it as a building process. This is a gigantic change, and you cannot expect it to be in one day, but it’s an organizing process, where we are trying to organize more and more countries and institutions to back up this plan.

Now, on this argument that you have to have a political solution first, we have heard that for many, many decades, and as a matter of fact, in the United Nations debate, this was always said: You have to have a political solution first, and then we can think about economic development.

But that has proven to be wrong, because has it led to peace? Has it led to a political solution? No, it has not. And argument on the other side, is, if you are in the situation like the Palestinian people right now, I mean, the desperation is so enormous that people cannot calm down, because they’re trying to survive from one day to the next.

But if you have an idea, how this entire region in all of Southwest Asia, from India to the Mediterranean, from the Caucasus to the Gulf States, would be developed—and we will hear in the course of the seminar very concrete plans—then you can inspire the imagination of young people, not only Palestine, but also in American universities, in the pro-Palestinian demonstrations, which are not anti-Semitic, they are just reacting to the horrendous situation going on. If you portray such a vision, the countries that are the neighbors of Palestine, of Israel, Jordan, Syria, the Gulf States, Türkiye, Egypt, even Iraq, Afghanistan—all of these countries are concerned about not only what is going on, but the danger of an escalation of the war. It was in my view, only the utmost restraint of Iran that Hezbollah is not involved, that the Houthis are doing something but more or less on their own (I think); but the danger that the war could escalate into an all-out war, involving Israel and Iran, and its various friendly organizations. If this escalates, I am convinced, as are many other observers for a long time, that if it comes to a full-fledged war between Israel and Iran, I think we are on the road to World War III, because neither Russia nor China would sit by and see how their ally, Iran, is being attacked.

And the reason why I mentioned the situation in Ukraine, because you cannot look at the situation in isolation. Because the reason why this war danger exists is because the existing world order, which used to be a unipolar world, the neoliberal system, the Western system which though that they were the winners of the Cold War, that history had ended, as Francis Fukuyama has said at the time, they wanted to keep the unipolar world, and that policy has led to a tremendous backlash, which is now appearing in the form of the emergence of a completely new economic system. And as long as the NATO countries regard Russia and China, an emerging new system as an enemy which has to be fought and has to be suppressed, that is the real driver behind this escalating war danger.

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