The FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022 as a catalyst for crucial change in the Middle East – Peace and Climate Action
By Matai Ben Aharon, Israel
Peace logo credit: Maor Hatoka
You all know the epic line from Games Of Thrones “winter is coming”, today you should say – peace is coming or, at least, it could come according to the latest announcement from FIFA President Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino.
Last month a statement was made by the President of FIFA, the world football association in charge of the coming world cup in Qatar 2022. The President suggested the possibility of opening up the coming tournament to more countries in the region alongside the host Qatar, and at the same time, the number of tournament participant countries would be increased from 32 to 48 in order to bring Peace to the area.
Thus, the President has given the region an outstanding and unprecedented window of opportunity hitherto unknown, and unlikely to come again.
The FIFA World Cup as a catalyst for Peace and Climate Action:
The President’s offer to the leaders of the Middle East comes at the perfect time as in recent years, a Civil Initiative, by the author of this paper and partners, has been working on a Peace initiative based on the very same principles. We suggest the FIFA World Cup be a catalyst for Peace – by opening up the hosting of the tournament to more countries in the Middle East, including Qatar’s neighbors, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the Sunni countries of Egypt and Jordan, and Israel and Palestine.
The initiative also emphasizes the importance of Climate Action, because of the region’s economic dependency on fossil fuels.
The opening up of the tournament would oblige all Middle Eastern participant countries to commit to dealing with Climate Change. Through the Green Goal Plan, an integral part of the tournament since 2006, and the 2030 plans of Middle Eastern countries it will be possible to move forward to clean energy, such as solar, hydroelectric and others, and to cooperate for ecological health  that is so badly needed in the area and the world.
In essence, the opening up of the hosting of the tournament to more countries could and hopefully would manifest two universal goals that are crucially needed – peace and climate action in a regional and global scale.
In the current Middle East, where the war in Syria and Yemen continues and millions of people are in refugee camps and in great need of food and shelter, the proposal of a Peace World Cup is more important than ever. Every leader in the region should grasp this great opportunity and fulfill it with the help of the global community.
Is Peace in Israel and Palestine becoming a real possibility?
In light of the above picture, the Israeli Palestinian conflict could diminish, whereupon all disputes would be reduced to the single decision of participating in the regional peace proposal made by the president of FIFA, and in the short window of time that is given for cooperation.
By implementing the regional world cup, which includes Israel and Palestine, we can create greater trust, open up new ways to think and relate to our political problems.
In our opinion, there is much more involved – if Israelis and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Palestinians with Mahmoud Abbas as President, and Hamas Leaders, choose to seize this opportunity – there is even the possibility of reaching a full Peace Agreement by the time the World Cup starts.
The solution is in our hands:
We believe that the optimum solution for Israel and Palestine is The Two States One Homeland confederation solution. Which is better than the One State Solution, which means the end of a Jewish state or an Apartheid State – A gloomy future in both scenarios. Or the Two-State Solution that extremists on both sides refuse to entertain. The third option, of the confederation, could be agreed upon by both right and left, and by both sides of the conflict – providing an opportunity to give the rights to all the land to both Israelis and Palestinians, without requiring the moving of settlements.
As we see it, the solution is in our hands and FIFA’s latest announcement comes at the right time, opening up an opportunity for cooperation on both sides.
If, as an act of trust, both sides contract to the mutual recognition of both people’s right to the land of Israel/Palestine, and enter intense negotiations, there is a true possibility that Israel and Palestine might see Peace sooner than we think, and host and participate in the FIFA Peace World Cup of Qatar 2022.
 Added: A position paper made by the Israeli Middle East and Environment specialist Moshe Terdiman, while approaching the Israeli Ministry for Regional Cooperation