The Semitic School The Korean SchoolThe Punjabi School
The Abrahamic School The Habesha School
The Semitic School
Who will be the future Israeli and Palestinian negotiators? How many will be each other's classmates from childhood, classmates with whom they solved problems successfully during their schooling?
The Semitic School is a novel catalyst for generating a lasting Israeli-Palestinian solution. This day school would straddle the security barrier between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority's territory and would purposely be constructed on land viewed as the border by both Palestinians - the 1949 Armistice Green Line - and Israelis, the ones who built the security barrier. The name of the school reflects the Semitic ancestry that Israelis and Palestinians share and the fact that Hebrew and Arabic both belong to the Semitic family of languages.
Students would be the children of the Israeli national politicians in Jerusalem, the children of the leaders of the Palestinian National Authority based in Ramallah 14 kilometers away, and some from families from each side's general public. Input from conservatives in designing the school would be particularly heeded as it is these parents who would be most reluctant in enrolling their children. The United Nations would provide peacekeepers and initial administrators if the two sides can not agree on the school's officials.
As of 2012, the Palestinian National Authority is no longer the de facto governing body of the Gaza Strip; Hamas is now governing it. Since Gaza City and two Israeli cities are very close to the northeast corner of the Israel-Gaza border, this would be an ideal location for a second campus of The Semitic School; this one would be primarily for the children of the Hamas leaders and the Israeli municipal officials of the two cities. Gaza City is 11 km to the southwest of this location, Sderot is only 3 km to the east, and Ashkelon is 15 km to the north. Unfortunately the capital of the Israel's South District, Be'er sheva, is too far away from this location to make it worthwhile for those children to come by bus on a daily basis.
The Korean School
The Korean School would be in the Korean DMZ at Panmunjom. As this location is too far away from P'yongyang for the children of the North Korean national leaders, the children of the South Korean national leaders in nearby Seoul will likely not attend either. The Seoul parents may feel that it is too risky to send their children here if the children of the top North Korean leaders are not attending. However, the school is close enough to a large North Korean city (Kaesong) and a large South Korean city (Paju) for the children of the municipal leaders of these two cities; it would just be a short bus ride for them. Both cities have populations over 300,000, and their residents both speak the Seoul dialect of Korean. The Punjabi School
On this area’s southern boundary is the Punjab, which the British partitioned in 1947 to form the Punjabi Province for Pakistan and the Punjab State for India. The only established crossing point within the Punjab, one of only two between India and Pakistan, is where The Punjabi School would be built. More specifically, the school will straddle the line at Wagah.
This location lies on the Grand Trunk Road, which connects Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab Province, and Amritsar, the headquarters of Amritsar District in India’s Punjab State. Families with members working for their respective governments in these two cities will be invited to send their children to the school, and spaces in the student body will also be given to the general public. The school and its location is an easy drive for school buses each day as neither Lahore nor Amritsar is more than 30 km from this point on the border.
Though some of the students might be Pakistani Muslims and some might be Indian Sikhs or Hindus, almost all of them would be Punjabi people, an ethnic group that speaks a language of the same name. It would be up to the parents and local educational leaders as to whether Punjabi or English would the primary language of instruction at the school. Without ignoring each student’s need for national and religious pride, the school would highlight the students’ shared Punjabi identity and the commonalities that they have with all Pakistanis and Indians. In their final year of secondary school, the students could take a political science class in which they will be asked to brainstorm solutions to the Kashmiri stalemate and ideas on how to strengthen relations between their respective countries.
The countries' two national capitals, Islamabad for Pakistan and Delhi for India, are too far away from this border crossing for daily bus rides by students. Thus the children of the top national leaders on each side would not be able to attend the school.
The Abrahamic School
One of the most infamous topographic regions in the Middle East is the Golan Heights. This plateau borders four countries – Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria – whose shared history includes numerous battles against each other, including one as recently as 2006. The Golan was taken by Israel from Syria in the 1967 War and is the primary fuel for these two countries’ ongoing dispute.
The Abrahamic Day School is named after Abraham, the father of the Abrahamic family of religions, which includes Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Druze, four religions in the aforementioned four countries. The school is a proposed school for the children of the following:
- Syria's Daraa Governorate leaders, based in the governorate's capital, Daraa (also spelled "Dar'a"); - Israeli leaders of the North District, which includes the Golan Heights and whose capital is Nazareth; - Israeli leaders of Tiberias, a city closer to the school than Nazareth would be; - Jordan's Irbid Governorate leaders, based in the governorate's capital, Irbid; and - the general public from these three countries, including Jewish Israeli settlers living in the southern part of the Golan Heights and any Druze residents there.
Nazareth itself is a city of mostly Arab Israelis, so most of the Jewish students coming from this area will actually be from Nazareth Illit, which borders Nazareth proper. Without proclaiming the legality of Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, the school would be located on an artifically-flattened mesa overlooking the Yarmouk River at the southern end of the U.N. demilitarized zone (UNDOF), which lies between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Syria. This point is where the borders of Syria, Jordan, and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights all meet. It is roughly 40 km from Nazareth, 25 km from Tiberias, 30 km from Daraa, and 25 km from Irbid. No side will have to send their children on school buses across the other countries' land.
If the distances are deemed to be too far from each city, each country's military could build and protect their own light-rail line to the school to expedite their students' daily commute. The school, if successful, could then one day be the rail junction between trains from Amman to Beirut and from Tel Aviv to Damascus.
The Habesha School
Ethiopia and Eritrea share a militarized border. They fought a 30-year war from 1961-1991 (the Eritrean War of Independence) and a two-year war from 1998-2000. They also had a smaller skirmish in 2010 after a United Nations peacekeeping force (UNMEE) had been asked to leave. Tensions are high, and another war could easily occur tomorrow. Despite this, Ethiopians and Eritreans are both part of the Habesha people. In each country's region close to this militarized border, there is a smaller inclusive group of the same ethnicity, the Tigray-Tigrinya people, so if the Habesha name does not work, this is another option.
On the Eritrean side, students would come from the town of Senafe, the capital of the Senafe administrative district in the Debub Region, and also the city of Adi Keyh, capital of the Adi Keyh District, which is also in the Debub Region. On the Ethiopian side, students would come from the city of Adigrat, the administrative center of the Ganta Afeshum district in the Tigray Region.
The two national capitals, Asmara for Eritrea and Addis Ababa for Ethiopia, are too far away from the border for daily bus rides, and thus the children of the two countries' top national leaders would not be able to attend the school.