Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Open Sesame!

I have on my bookshelves a 230-page, lavishly produced volume entitled ‘Israel in the World: changing lives through innovation’, published in 2004.
I covers in detail many aspects of the good Israel does in the world through innovative communications, medical and agricultural research and demonstration projects, and the export of the fruits of this development.
The first, and only, mention of Palestinians in the book is on page 214, when the book talks about advanced medical care techniques to treat Israeli civilians hurt or maimed by Palestinian suicide bombers.
Now, depressingly, ten years on Israel’s main export to the Palestinians in Gaza is shells, bombs, tanks and high-tech supported invading troops.
However, there is a little known scientific collaborative project involving a most unlikely group including: Israel, Iran and The Palestine Authority
Last month Labour MP Paul Flynn was told by science minister Dr Greg Clark in a written parliamentary answer about the project, called SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East), which has also received some financial supor from the UK.
Dr Clark stresses the importance of “Spreading awareness of the existence and desirability of SESAME to existing and potential SESAME member countries.” (Hansard,  22 July 2014 : Column 1148W)
When the latest war in Gaza is over, perhaps such projects as SESAME give hope that despite all the deep seated differences, there are small successes on which to build  co-operation between Israel and Palestinians.

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