Peace through Superior Football

An international relations expert and a professional football player propose a novel path to Middle East peace: Israel and Palestine should jointly bid to host the World Cup in 2018.

When it comes to wishing for peace in the Middle East – virtually a New Year’s tradition ­– one needs to be careful. So many hopes have vanished in the bitter failure of so many negotiations. But we have a wish for the Middle East – one that, while perhaps not bringing peace, can create one of peace’s preconditions: goodwill. Israel and Palestine should jointly bid for, and be awarded, the Football World Cup in 2018.

The Israel-Palestine conflict has lasted far too long. The Annapolis peace conference ended a seven-year freeze on negotiations, with President George W. Bush asking the conflict’s main protagonists to reach an agreement by the end of 2008.

Nothing prevents us from hoping that a fair and just peace can be achieved by then. There is no curse that keeps Israelis and Palestinians from living side by side peacefully. Where there is a will, there is a way.

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