Teaching Gaza to Fish



By: GILAH KAHN-HOFFMAN   
Published: October 15th 2010
in Economics » World

Fishing in Israel
Pic: Wikipedia

A graduate of the Israel Defense Forces Military Academy and Naval Academy, Perry was Second in Command of the navy's largest ship. Later, as a certified yacht skipper, he circumnavigated the world, gaining a sense of globalization and of world economics before joining the Sofaer International MBA program.

 

Too busy to turn to terror

 

The five graduate students "found commonality in Economic Peace Theory. We felt strongly that reduction in tension would be a product of economic empowerment; that the solution lies within the private sector in Gaza. That being said, it was clear that Gaza has limited natural resources, with the exception of human-power and sea. That fact, coupled with the strong seafaring heritage of the population, along with a drastic reduction in the fishing industry, made fish farms a natural solution," says David Welch, speaking for the Nets of Peace founders.

 

Following a "short but rewarding career in finance," after obtaining a BA in International Relations from Indiana Wesleyan University, Welch, from Sacramento, California, joined Tel Aviv University's International MA Program in Conflict Resolution.

 

Welch says that the Nets for Peace project received a green light from Wertheimer to try and revive his vision of a "New Marshall Plan." Wertheimer's "Marshall Plan for the Middle East" is his concept to use industry to provide training, create jobs, alleviate poverty and raise the per capita income of those living in the region, which will keep people busy working, instead of engaging in terrorism. According to Welch, the plan includes a business park, with various revisions to account for current political realities.

 

Israel's absence from the project is deliberate, and there are no plans for official Israeli partnerships, outside of consulting and liaising with the military and the government to ensure smooth implementation.

 

Responding to a question from ISRAEL21c about their goal to supply Gazans with "a healthy protein supply," Welch says, "We have come across significant data stating that the population within Gaza (especially the child population) has been lacking essential parts of a healthy diet. The proteins and fatty acids found in fish could be a great way of bridging this gap. Eventually, we would like to see Gaza become a major Mediterranean exporter of fish products, but our first goal is to meet the demand within Gaza itself. We see this as an attainable goal."

 

Help Gaza, benefit the global community

 

Joint international and Palestinian ownership or Palestinian ownership is also a goal and they hope to grant equity to staff. The group is also banking on investment from Palestinian businessman and micro-investment via shares sold to the Palestinian people and note that "we are also in contact with multiple private sector parties in the Gaza Strip, and are discussing future opportunities with them, but specific names cannot be revealed at this time."

 

While it's still in the development stage, the project will be equipped to receive commitments from funders in the near future, and investment opportunities are still available.

 

"The blueprint of the project does call for private sector partnerships, both internal and external. An educational department is designated to be funded by the international governmental sector, but the rest is to be covered by the private sector," Welch relates. "Although no official relationships have been formed, the UN and USAID have expressed interest in the project, and Nets of Peace is a proud member organization of the Clinton Global Initiative," he adds.

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Irishman Dave McGeady is an engineering graduate from Trinity College Dublin. Following completion of his MSc at Helsinki University of Technology he spent several years in investment banking in London before enrolling in the Sofaer IMBA Program and becoming one of the creators of Nets of Peace.

 

He explains his personal involvement thus: "I recognize that reducing political tension in this region will benefit the global community."

 

This article was originally featured in Israel21c and was republished with permission.

Related articles: (Gaza, fishing, Israel, Palestinian)



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