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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Israelis Team Up With Palestinians Over Nanotech And Schistosomiasis?

Despite the on going violence between the two neighbors, it looks as if there are a few Israeli's and Palestinians who are willing to cooperate together in order to enhance each others lives--not to mention science as well.

(Globes Online) Two new projects have brought together scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Al-Quds University. Researchers from the two universities have succeeded in developing a method for checking the level of risk in bilharzia, which has been adopted by the World Health Organization and will soon be applied in Nigeria. At the same time, in the field of nanotechnology in which the two universities have been collaborating for a long time, an Israeli-Palestinian-Hungarian joint project has been established, sponsored and funded by the Hungarian Embassy in Israel. [...]

Laszlo Korani, the Economic Attache at the Hungarian Embassy in Tel Aviv, conceived the idea of bringing Hungary into the story. "One of the roles of the embassy is to encourage joint Hungarian-Israeli research. I read the autobiography of Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University, and I then knew that I also wanted to strengthen the connection to his university. It was only natural to build on cooperation that already existed and to add our sponsorship to it."

Bilharzia (also known as Schistosomiasis) is a parasitic disease that can not only damage internal organs but also cause bladder cancer.

The Israeli and Palestinian teams hope to come up with a simple way to test for the presence of this pest in the soil that goes beyond the current use of surveys and questionnaires (which may overlook areas still infected by the parasite).

Hopefully this trend of cooperation between Israel and Palestine continues, as it may help both sides see each other in a more favorable light.

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