Civilian cooperation between Israel and Arab states: How does it work?

The paper reviews cooperation between Israel and the Arab world in sports, culture, the environment, tourism, religion and heritage, humanitarian aid, science and medicine. The cumulative experience as presented in the examples it provides offers key insights into the structural characteristics and preferred practices underpinning regional civilian cooperation. The paper points to organizational structure, formal agreements, geographic proximity and identity, the existence of a government framework and uniqueness of the geographic periphery as hallmarks of successful cooperation, as well as to the differences between various types of cooperation stemming from their specific nature. The paper also points to the decisive role of the Palestinians in cooperation, the role of international involvement, the need for leading figures deeply committed to change, and the new opportunities offered by the virtual world. The document highlights the need to learn effective lessons from past experience of promoting regional civilian cooperation in order to create better conditions for a political-diplomatic peace process.

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