Posted by Joshua on Sunday, July 19th, 2009
Where did the idea of turning the Golan into a nature park originate?
It would seem that Imad (Ed) Jazairi of Houston Texas was the first to propose it in 2001. A Syrian-American Biologist and Naturalist with no interest in politics, Imad Jazairi is a descendant of Emir Abdul Kader Al-Jazairi the illustrious Algerian warrior who was sent into exile in Damascus following the conquest of Algeria by the French. [Read the wonderful new book by John Kiser, Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader] The al-Jazairi name has many positive connotations for Syrians, Sephardic Jews and North Africans. Imad points out that “not only Israelis or Americans can dream of such peace resolutions….but so can Arabs and, in particular, Syrian-Americans like myself.”
Imad Jazairi adds:
Please kindly note that I have sent you a hard copies of the proposed subject matter including but not limited to a letter from Mr. Edward Dejrejian, president of the Baker Institute. A copy of a letter from former President Bill Clinton regarding the subject matter as well as a copy of a letter of acknowledgment from the office of Kofi Anan, former Secretary General of the United Nations acknowledging the same proposal.
First there was the former Israeli official at the foreign ministry [Alon Liel] and his buddy the Syrian-American Businessman by the name of Ibrahim Soleiman. Now Fred Hof, a US Ambassador attached to George Mitchell is advocating a Nature Park be established on the Golan separating Syria and Israel. Here is my proposal of 2001-2002, which precedes these proposals.
A Proposal regarding peace between Syria & Israel.
By Imad (Ed) Jazairi
Houston, TX. 77057
Introduction: The following proposal can be suggested to both parties of the conflict, Syria & Israel, with a hope that it will ultimately lead to a permanent peace between the two parties. The idea is so simple, nifty and novel that both parties may find it acceptable and neutral in its concepts with a possible positive outcome for ALL.
Here it is: It came to my attention that the dispute revolves around a few hundred square meters bordering what is known as the Sea of Galilee, in Syria it is known as Lake Tiberius named after one of the Roman Emperor and in Israel as Lake Kenneret. By resolving this issue may usher a new path that may lead to peace between the two nations. The following is a step by step toward resolving this problem:
1- The Disputed Area: Both sides, Syria & Israel, will relinquish sovereignty and claims of sovereignty of the area to a non-governmental international body or non-governmental international organization concerned with environmental issues and progressive environmental programs.
2- Area Transformation: The disputed area under the direction and supervision of the named environmental organization can transform the formerly “disputed” area into a Nature Reserve & Wild Life Sanctuary. Both countries can add a few miles here and there to enhance the size of the area to make it more attractive and establish a viable piece of land, ecologically speaking, that can not only serve both countries but the entire region at large.
3- Research and Education: A center for environmental research, wild life management, and land restorations can be established in the area. Scientists, engineers, technicians, laymen and even lawyers from both countries and the world at large can gather for seminars, lectures and symposiums and be able to discuss the environmental problems facing the region and other regions of the world with similar problems.
4- Some candidates: Possible candidates for administering this are The Nature Conservancy and the Wild Life Fund. No, I am not a member of either.
5- Security: The security of the area can be provided by a small contingent of a police force drawn up from various countries on a rotating basis and supervised by the United Nations.
6- The Public Perceptions: I do believe that the public sentiments in both countries, Syria & Israel, would be more receptive to the idea of establishing a nature reserve and wild life sanctuary on the border between the two states. The entire idea for which I am proposing can substitute the ideological and demagogical divide prevailing the cultures of the antagonists. No more piece of rock here and there, no more inches and centimeters of disputed soil marking some artificial lines drawn up in the 1920’s.
Imad (Ed) Jazairi
[Praise for John Kiser's, Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader]
For more than 40 years he was a world figure, his renown stretching from the American Midwest to Moscow to the Middle East. As he neared death in 1883, The New York Times wrote that he “deserves to be ranked among the foremost of the few great men of the century.”
Earlier, he had received accolades and awards from France, Britain, Russia, the Ottoman sultan, the papacy and President Abraham Lincoln, who sent him not a medal but, in quintessentially American fashion, a matched pair of fancy Colt pistols.
The man being honored was Abd el-Kader, a learned and fervent Muslim, who for 15 years had organized and led a jihad against a Western power.
After he ceased hostilities, his four-year detention, in violation of a promise of safe passage into exile, became an international cause célèbre. Released and feted, even by his captors, he came to live in Damascus.
There, in July 1860, el-Kader braved mobs and saved thousands of Christians from a murderous rampage through the city’s Christian quarter.
In this, the bicentennial of his birth, el-Kader’s name is known to only a tiny fraction of Americans. That fraction includes those knowledgeable about modern Algeria, where his resistance to French colonization places him among the founding figures of an independent nation.
And then there are the 1,500 residents of Elkader, a town in northeastern Iowa, founded and named in 1846 by a frontier lawyer who admired the freedom-fighting exploits of this “daring Arab chieftain.”….
Jane Geniesse, Former NYT reporter….. an absorbing and beautifully written story of a great hero who is a model warrior for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The reader is bound to be moved by the life of this remarkable man who was the very opposite of a fanatic jihadist….