Africa/Middle East Briefing— Global


Israel's glut of lawyers, the South Africans taking a stand against cheap imported clothes, and preparations for elections in the Central African Republic.

Israel, Saleem H Ali, South Africa, law, lawyers

Raising the bar

Israel [LAWYERS]

The aspirations of the stereotypical Jewish mother for high achieving professional children seem to have been fulfilled: Israel has more practising lawyers per capita than any other country – and Tel Aviv has one lawyer for every 35 people, which is much more than most cities. In fact there are so many lawyers, mainly due to the recent mushrooming of colleges offering law degrees, that in recent years the annual admission-to-the-bar ceremony has been held in a 20,000-seat football stadium.

But all of that might be…

Q&A - Saleem H Ali

Associate professor of environmental studies

University of Vermont

There is talk of creating a “peace park” in the Golan Heights to end the territorial dispute between Israel and Syria. Monocle talks to the author of Peace Parks, Conservation and Conflict Resolution.

How would a peace park work?
The idea is to declare the area as a nature reserve. This could offer a win-win exit strategy for both sides to the conflict. For Syria it would be an opportunity to get peace without relinquishing their claim on the Golan and for Israel, they could show a willingness to cooperate and improve relations with Arab countries beyond Egypt and Jordan.

How much could this help build peace throughout the region?
The potential problem with the approach is that if taken in isolation from the Palestinian conflict, it could lead to a “cold peace” such as what has happened between Egypt and Israel. It must be linked eventually to the larger resolution of the Palestinian conflict.

Why is the idea gaining momentum now?
The timing is right because the US has decided to re-engage with Syria. We have a US ambassador returning to Damascus after a five-year gap and the Obama administration’s deputy envoy to the region, Fred Hof, had himself suggested a peace park as a possible solution to the conflict.

Has this kind of peace-building worked elsewhere?
It worked to resolve the territorial conflicts between Ecuador and Peru; it was used in the Balkans between Macedonia and Albania over conflicts related to Lake Ohrid. And there is a trans-boundary park between Jordan and Israel at the confluence of the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers – this is where the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel was signed.


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