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Monday, October 01, 2007

Science Helps Unite Israelis And Palestinians

(Hat Tip:

(Image: Mukhles Sowwan, seated, with research team members at the Nanotechnology Research Laboratory at Al-Quds University. Credit: Rina Castelnuovo of the New York Times)

With all of the "love" happening between Israel and the West Bank lately, here is something you may not hear about in the news--at least on cable and satellite.

A doctor by the name of Mukhles Sowwan at the Al-Quds University (in East Jerusalem) created the Nanotechnology Research Laboratory, the first of its kind in the West Bank and perhaps the Arab world at large.

Unfortunately for Sowwan, support for this lab was rather lacking in his area, and if it were not for the efforts of an Israeli scientist, this lab would not be in the position where it is today.

(New York Times) The lab pursues ground-breaking research under conditions that would bewilder most American and European technologists. But although Dr. Sowwan is its guiding spirit, it would not exist except for the generosity of European donors, the stubborn internationalism of a United Nations organization and the help of Dr. Sowwan's mentor, who happens to be an Israeli physicist at Hebrew University in West Jerusalem. [...]

"When he applied, it was a most difficult time," says Dr. Porath, who has a doctorate in physics. The general violence and unrest that have troubled the region since late 2000 had only recently begun, he explained. "There were even people in my group who were hesitant about his coming. I said, 'I don't want to attack people. I refuse to. And if he's any good, he's welcome.' It worked. We became friends."

Cooperation like this goes to show that Israeli's and Palestinians can work together on projects for the common good of humanity. Hopefully we will be able to see more joint projects like these, as it provides an excellent opportunity for both sides to see each other in a light that is often blurred by the main stream news.

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