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Syria Letter to Israeli Prime Minister

Global Issues >>Peace-War-Conflict >> Syria Letter to Israele Prime Minister

Syria Letter to Israeli Prime Minister

26 December 1995

Shimon Peres
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street
Jerusalem 91919 Israeljhj

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

As Israel and Syria begin a dialogue to resolve some of their longstanding differences, I write to offer an option that strengthens both economies and serves as a bridge for peace between former rivals.

As a brief introduction, Global Energy Network Institute (GENI) is a US non-profit organization conducting research and education into the benefits of interconnecting electrical networks between regions, with special focus on tapping renewable energy resources. In the attached literature, you will find extensive corroboration for the expansion of power grids worldwide.

Two recent examples serve to illustrate the economic benefits and potential for peaceful interdependence for Israel and Syria to link their electrical power networks:
  • Two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November '89, East and West Germany initiated the interconnection of the electric power systems between the two countries. Enormous economic and environmental benefits have already accrued, even after 40 years of staring at each other through a gun barrel. All of East and West Europe will be integrated over the next decade.
  • As reported in Newsweek, September 93 -- immediately after the peace accords were signed between PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Yitsak Rabin, economic integration was now possible: With peace at hand, some ambitious development projects no longer look so crazy. Beyond Israel and the occupied territories, some other neighbors could benefit, too. A few of the Palestinians fondest dreams: POWER GRIDS: Interlocking electrical grids could save Israelis and Arabs millions of dollars.
Then, just last year, the Washington Declaration between Israel and Jordan immediately commenced the interconnection of both telephone and power grids for mutual benefits to both nations.

A simple transmission line can be a physical linkage that will benefit both Syria and Israel. The distances involved are short, and the resources and technology exist throughout the Middle East to engineer the project.

The benefits of system integration are well documented:

  • load sharing
  • emergency back-up
  • peak power savings
  • deferral of additional capacity requirements
  • increased system stability
  • improved frequency and voltage control
  • ability to retire environmentally unsound or older generation

In this case, it would be a physical demonstration of cooperation, an electrical intertie between Israel and Syria that would serve as an example for further mutually advantageous projects.

Specifically, Israel could support Syria's development by selling its excess capacity and assisting in the development of further generation sources for their mutual benefit.

Looking beyond the gain to both nations -- extending these interconnections across neighboring borders into Lebanon and Jordan would profit the entire region. Last year, GENI helped coordinate an IEEE Power Engineering Society panel session on Middle East Power Policy on Electricity Infrastructure, Interconnections, and Electricity Exchanges. I have enclosed this report for your in-depth review.

In the articles , several experts discuss the growing Mashreq Arab Interconnected Power System which is a priority project of the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development. In Kuwait, Ms. Mervat Bedawi is an electrical engineer who is driving this initiative from the Arab Fund, and Egyptian Energy Minister, Maher Abaza, is a champion for the Africa-Middle East-Europe three continents interconnection.

GENI's aim is to make sure the Mashreq grid includes Israel because it's mutually beneficial to all. It is a strategy for peace and economic development. Several other reports are attached for your consideration. Please contact us in San Diego if GENI could be of service in future discussions.


Peter Meisen

  1. IEEE Power Engineering Review,Middle East Power Policy December 1994, Volume 14, Number 12
  2. 1994 CIGRE Keynote Address: Africa-Europe Electrical Interconnections and Prospects for Worldwide Interconnections, Eng. M. Maher Abaza, Minister of Electricity and Energy of Egypt
  3. GENI newsletter, 1st Quarter 1994, True Economic Conversion
  4. GENI newsletter, 1st Quarter 1995. Why war? Why not big projects?, Walter Hickel, Chairman of The Northern Forum, address to the United Nations, September 22, 1994
  5. Newsweek special report, Will they come back to this? Sept. 20, '93
  6. What's being said by the experts
Copies of all documents sent to:
  • Syria:
  • Hafiz al-Assad, President
  • Mahmoud Zu'bi, Prime Minister
  • Muhammad Harbah, Minister of the Interior
  • Israel:
  • Shimon Peres, Prime Minister
  • Ezer Weizman, President
  • Jordan:
  • King Hussein, King
  • Sharif Zeid Bin Shaker, Prime Minister
  • Salamah Hammad, Minister of the Interior
  • Lebanon:
  • Elias Harawi, President
  • Rafiq al-Hariri, Prime Minister
  • Michel el-Murr, Minister of the Interior
  • United States:
  • Bill Clinton, President
  • Al Gore, Vice President
  • Warren Christopher, Secretary of State
  • Tim Wirth, Counselor to the Secretary
  • Anthony Lake, National Security Advisor
  • John Gibbons, Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Madeline Albright, United Nations Ambassador
  • Christopher Ross, Ambassador to Syria
  • Martin Indyk, Ambassador to Israel
  • Wesley Egan Jr., Ambassador to Jordan
  • Ron Schricher, Charge to Lebanon
  • United Nations:
  • Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary General
  • Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary for Policy Coordination
  • James Jonah, Under-Secretary for the Middle East