Multicultural Trade Zones

META has a unique approach to the highly complex issues that burden much of its related disputed territories. Political challenges are found in the naming convention of these regions. For local Palestinian and Jewish settlers alike, forcing their respective regional names on each other is a recipe for conflagration. This is even more problematic when international bodies get involved in such disputes. For example, the mere mention of Israelis wanting to annex parts of the disputed territories to be known as an integral part of the State of Israel, sparks outrage worldwide. Conversely, moves to call the same areas where Jewish settlers live, as being part of a potential Palestine state causes fear and intense anger among Jewish residents who have an historic and biblical claim to the territory spanning several thousand years, and have many recent decades of settlement there. However, both Jews and Palestinians have a strong desire to live in peace and prosperity on the same land, if not always agreeing that it should be in mutual coexistence. Within this backdrop, there has been a growing trend from both Jews and Palestinians to relate to each other through mutual commercial interests. IPEF is just one example of this trend. Accordingly, as it proves evident that a common interest does exist in a trading environment, it makes sense to give a name to this environment in recognition of this accord. Hence, creating multicultural trade zones serves to bridge the enormous gap that is associated with political inspired names.

This new naming convention is not designed to replace the will of regional participants to show solidarity with their respective identities. It is designed with the thought of providing an alternative framework from which better relations might be unfolded.

While, political realities cannot be readily avoided, improving the status quo of the residents in the affected areas is a positive step towards any long lasting peace accord. Historic steps in the direction of peaceful coexistence has embraced the economic needs of the region.

Generalisations cannot be applied for improving the lives of these residents through financial gain, as many are driven by religious oriented dogma. However, just like the fledgling success of the Abraham Accords, the existence of a nucleus force willing to give a chance for an economically inspired solution is sufficiently strong on the ground to support moves in that direction. Trading has always provided opportunities for previous combatants to explore other ways of strengthening their relative positions, and in doing so has often resulted in symbiotic alliances.

Through accommodating the needs of trading partners, political issues such as disputed territorial factors has historically led to viable understandings, if not hard factual agreements. With such thoughts in mind, META approaches the thorny issues of territorial disputes through adding a new overlay to the picture. Trading zones currently exist in one form or another throughout the Middle East, and between sworn enemies. Arab countries have purchased produce from Israel, switching labels to make it more acceptable for consumers. Israel in turn has quietly invested in the infrastructure of numerous Arab initiatives.

While, sovereignty or annexation may well be on the cards in the not too distant future, finding another entity name for the residents of Jewish settlements could well serve as a bridge towards legitimacy, until sovereignty can be determined. Multicultural trade zones provides such an entity name. It allows the residents to better enjoy international economical benefits without being held hostage to political overtures. The multicultural aspect refers to enterprises that includes both Jews and Arabs, to varying degrees of participation. In so doing, it lessens the political stigma usually accompanying a territorial claim. However, more poignantly, promoting the concept of a multi cultural trade zone of itself provides a recipe for improving the lives of all its participants.

MULTICULTURAL TRADE ZONES UNDER CONSTRUCTION

THE GOLAN HEIGHTS

JUDAH AND SHOMRON

JORDAN VALLEY

EAST JERUSALEM