Jacques Biot, President of École Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France), and Prof. Daniel Zajfman, President of the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel), signed a cooperation agreement to develop and promote collaboration in higher education and research between the two institutions.
École Polytechnique is the leading French institute combining top-level research, academics, and innovation at the cutting-edge of science and technology.
With this agreement, École Polytechnique and the Weizmann Institute of Science, both renowned for their high standards of quality in academics and research, seek to promote the exchange of students and faculty members, as well as to foster scientific and academic cooperation in topics of common interest.
A laboratory-initiated collaboration
Prof. Victor Malka, Research Director at the Laboratory of Applied Optics, a joint laboratory of École Polytechnique, ENSTA ParisTech and CNRS, joined the Physics of Complex Systems Department of the Weizmann Institute of Science in October 2015. Malka is committed to bring École Polytechnique and WIS closer: “It felt natural to me to initiate this collaboration, to create scientific cooperation. Both presidents − of Polytechnique and the Weizmann Institute of Science − have fully endorsed this initiative, enabling its quick success.”
Malka’s research deals with laser-plasma accelerators. This accelerator concept, invented 30 years ago, has enabled researchers to obtain particle beams with unique properties. Very energetic, extremely bright and tunable in energy, these beams open new opportunities in such diverse fields such as medicine, chemistry, biology and materials science.
Recent improvements at the Laboratory of Applied Optics have opened the path to treating cancerous tumors. Research projects in this lab have yielded new perspectives, for example, on the detection of breast cancerous tumors at a very early stage. This new laser-plasma technology can also be used for industrial applications as it produces high-resolution, three-dimensional images of dense materials, for example those used in airplane parts.
Malka is currently working towards an association between the Laboratory of Applied Optics and the Weizmann Institute of Science Faculty of Physics to develop applications for laser-plasma accelerators. Under his initiative, two students from the Weizmann Institute of Science have already started PhD research at LOA.
One of the open-secrets about the seemingly-never-ending nature of violent Palestinian Arab hatred of Israel, Israelis and Jews is the sustaining role played by money and power.
That’s one of the reasons we mention often how the Palestinian Arabs live in a society ruled by kleptocrats – those aggressive and powerful Abbas/Arafat regime insiders whose well-being and wealth depend on keeping the flames of hatred going and their fellow-citizens under their heels.
Yesterday (Tuesday), Associated Press syndicated a somewhat rare look at what the ordinary folk think of their Palestinian Authority overlords, and how that translates into action.
But about the headline: is it fair and accurate to say “most” when the proportion of Palestinian Arabs convinced of their governing regime’s corruption is almost 96% according to the data quoted by AP. Given a 3% margin of error, that’s about as close to unanimous as public opinion ever gets. What other issues do we hear about where 4% of the total population disagree? Never happens.
Let’s also note that massive Palestinian Arab corruption is neither new nor a secret. As the AP piece notes:
[T]he government hasn’t submitted annual budget reports for mandatory audits for four years, effectively preventing scrutiny of how millions of dollars are spent, said corruption monitor Aman, the Palestinian branch of Transparency International.
How those millions are spent is precisely at the heart of the ongoing scandal via which willfully-gullible European governments, along with the co-operative United States, continue to fund the Arafat/Abbas Rewards for Terror scheme while pretending not to notice the array of fig leaves and overt lies. Those serve as cover for the jihadist murders – mainly of Israelis – that everyone involved knows is the actual purpose of the cash flowing into Ramallah.
If we have to choose one particular shortcoming in yesterday’s news report, it’s that AP could have depicted, but did not, Palestinian Arab corruption in ways that might have significantly changed people’s perceptions. How? By photographs of those concrete expressions of corruption that we know about but that are rarely seen.
Pictures of villas for the powerful and well-tended, paved and – of course – guarded streets do that well. A shame that AP offered only one such image in its syndicated story (the photo at the top of this post), and that one shows no human beings. The text describing the exclusive neighborhood (“built for senior Palestinian Authority officials on subsidized land“) helps, but it’s almost always true that pictures trump words for impact.
There are probably many other concrete expressions of PA corruption that could easily have been caught on camera but were not, and perhaps never will. AP along with every other news company is subject to the reality that the production of photographic images from the areas under PA control has for years been subtly (and almost silently) controlled by the Abbas circle. By far the majority of photographers working in that field are themselves Arabs, who are the source of the photos syndicated out by Reuters, Xinhua, AFP and Associated Press.
What kind of images almost never emerge? How about photos or clips of PA insiders – the fat-cat ministers, the fancily-dressed bureaucrats, their privileged children – getting in or out of their fancy SUVs and limousines. We’re thinking of that in particular because it’s a reality we encounter when we make a weekly trip to the community south of Jerusalem to visit grandchildren. This involves our driving past Bethlehem, and sharing the road with drivers leaving or entering Bethlehem or Hebron or the surrounding villages.
If you have not made that journey recently, or visited other parts of the PA’s domain, you might be surprised by the reality. This video clip, made last year by a creative (and justifiably angry) Israeli individual with an activist bent, Ezri Tubi, delivers in simple in-your-face form an illustration of how badly people’s ignorance and/or misconceptions serve them about non-trivial aspects of the lives lived by our Pal Arab neighbors.
Very rarely, images do emerge of the armed security men – many thousands of them, in at least eight different official organizations [source] – who keep the PA elite safe from their disenfranchised citizens. Sure, AP reporters can and do write (mildly) about this sort of thing, as we have just seen. And from time to time they can also remind the world that the Palestinian Arabs are not only exploited but their own power circles, but can do next to nothing about it since those same power circles have no interest in allowing them to exercise their democratic right to vote in elections. It’s good to see those things written and said occasionally because they are true and meaningful.
But there’s no substitute for producing images and the honest contexts that need to accompany them. (And yes, we know life and freedom are about many issues, not just villas and Volvos.) Photos really get into people’s heads in ways that words rarely do. However that threatens those PA insiders and so their appearance is much rarer.
(In case it’s not obvious, corruption in Gaza and among its Hamas ruling clique is as bad, if not worse.)
A new U.S. agreement with Turkey to train and equip five thousand moderate Syrian opposition forces “is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” a displaced Syrian activist refugee says. Aboud Dandachi, who now lives in Istanbul, Turkey says a plan to train and arm 5,000 moderate Syrian opposition forces is “not serious at all.”
The plan signed by the United States at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is intended to train, equip and arm 5,000 troops. Congress has already allocated half a billion dollars for the project, but according to a Pentagon spokesperson, only 1,200 “moderates” have been “identified” for the program slated to begin in mid-March. How long will it take U.S. military specialists to train, equip and arm 5,000 Syrian rebels? How effective will this program be? Will it help change the picture with Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist group? Will anything be resolved in Syria by this?
Dandachi has had first-hand experience observing the factors that led to the nightmare that once was his homeland. A business person, he became a refugee within his own country after being forced to leave his home in Homs when the Syrian Army launched an artillery and tank assault on his neighborhood. After moving from one place to the next and following the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against two Damascus neighborhoods, Dandachi made the painful decision to leave his homeland and traveled to Istanbul, arriving in September 2013. He has a rather sardonic view of President Barack Obama’s new plan to help Syrian rebel forces. As to the American president’s international credibility …. well …
“Where do I begin with the problem with this approach,” Dandachi replied in an exclusive interview conducted via the Internet with JewishPress.com on Thursday. “If an Israeli wants a career in the IDF, he or she knows where to sign up. If any Jew anywhere in the world wants to dedicate a few years of their lives to serving Israel, they know the address.
“You can’t build a military by “scouting” soldiers; you need people to know where to come forward,” Dandachi said. “As a Syrian I can’t very well sit around and hope to be ‘discovered’ by Obama,” he continued. “And then if I were, it will be a cold day in hell before I trust him to sell me a used car, much less supply me with weapons.
“War is a potentially long term affair; will Obama keep this force supplied for the years it may take to have any effect? The Americans have proven notoriously fickle in the past,” he observed. (Ed. – More than one news commentator has made similar remarks, referencing America’s behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan, for starters.)
Somewhat taken aback by his candor, this writer asked a second time about the advisability of revealing his identity – but was told “by all means” to go ahead.
“I was never a fighter and I will never be one, I’ve never held a gun in my life, but I’m sure that’s what many potential fighters could be thinking right now,” Dandachi wrote. “When the U.S. went to war in WWII and Vietnam, it didn’t want to “vet” its potential pool of recruits – it drafted anyone above a certain age. When you wage all-out war you can’t hand-pick your fighters; you need to make sure of the widest possible amount of potential manpower available.
“Training” several thousand soldiers is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” he contended.
By the way — Dandachi’s point has some merit: how effective can 5,000 U.S.-trained troops be against the combined forces of Syrian military forces, backed and equipped by Russia and Iran, fighting side by side with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards force and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerrilla fighters?
Syrian “moderate” forces will also be facing the “other” Syrian rebel faction — that of the radical Islamist rebels linked to Al Qaeda (Jabhat al Nusra, for instance) and now also Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That force alone numbers in the tens of thousands: the most recent estimates place the total number of “moderate” Syrian rebel fighters at best at 20,000.
The deal, which came Thursday morning, means the residents will begin to dismantle five of their own houses and buildings by themselves. Included among the structures are a mikvah and an electrical utility building. The fate of seven other buildings is still under discussion.
According to the Civil Administration, residents have already removed their personal belongings from the buildings.
Under the agreement the residents are expected to have left their homes by Sunday, when the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer, which marks the passing of the great Torah sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, will already have started the night before.
Bonfires will have been kindled after the Shabbat has ended, lighting up the hillsides, valleys and beaches of Israel, including the mountainous regions in Judea and Samaria.
During the daylight hours Jews generally celebrate the holiday in parks and nature reserves, or at the mountaintop Galilee tomb of the sage, near Meron — but for residents of Givat Assaf, the only “celebration” may come in the form moving trucks.
As I noted last week, what is currently taking place in Syria closely resembles what we can ultimately expect in a future “Palestine.”
In principle, and contrary to his beleaguered country’s overriding legal rights and security interests, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a Palestinian state back in June 2009. Yet Mr. Netanyahu, more or less prudently, conditioned this concessionary agreement on prior Palestinian “demilitarization.” More specifically, said the prime minister: “In any peace agreement, the territory under Palestinian control must be disarmed, with solid security guarantees for Israel.”
In fact and in law, this published expectation offers no effective obstacle to Palestinian statehood, or to any subsequent Palestinian war against Israel.
Neither Hamas, now subtly closing ranks with its once more powerful Muslim Brotherhood mentors in post-Morsi Egypt, nor Fatah, whose “security forces” were recently trained by American General Keith Dayton in nearby Jordan at very great American taxpayer expense, will ever negotiate for anything less than full sovereignty. Why should they? Supporters of Palestinian statehood can readily discover authoritative legal support for their stance in binding international treaties.
Easily misrepresented or abused, international law can generally be manipulated to serve virtually any preferred geo-political strategy, a jurisprudential twisting sometimes referred to as “lawfare.” For example, pro-Palestinian international lawyers, seeking to identify self-serving sources of legal confirmation, could conveniently cherry-pick pertinent provisions of the (1) Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (the 1933 treaty on statehood, sometimes called the Montevideo Convention), and/or (2) the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Israel, as an existing sovereign state, has a basic or “peremptory” right to survive. From the standpoint of the government’s responsibility to assure citizen protection, a responsibility that goes back in modern political thought to the 16th century French philosopher, Jean Bodin, and also to the seventeenth-century English theorist, Thomas Hobbes, this right is also a fixed obligation. It was, therefore, entirely proper for Netanyahu to have originally opposed a Palestinian state in any form, an opposition, incidentally, once shared by Shimon Peres, himself the proudest Israeli champion of a “two-state solution.”
To wit, in his otherwise incoherent book, Tomorrow is Now (1978), Peres had said the following about Palestinian statehood:
The establishment of such a state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces into [Judea and Samaria]: This force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other military equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in [Judea, Samaria] and the Gaza Strip…. In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel’s existence.
In writing about “time of war,” this former prime minister had neglected to mention that Israel is already locked in a permanent condition of war. The war, not “tomorrow” (whatever that was intended to signify) is now. Pertinent target “infrastructure installations” could include Dimona, and also a number of other presumably vulnerable Israel nuclear reactor facilities.
Any Israeli arguments for Palestinian demilitarization, however vehement and well intentioned, are certain to fail. International law would not even expect Palestinian compliance with any pre-state agreements concerning the right to use armed force. This is true even if these compacts were to include certain explicit U.S. guarantees. Moreover, per the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, because authentic treaties can only be binding upon states, a non-treaty agreement between the Palestinians and Israel could prove to be of little or no real authority.
What if the government of a new Palestinian state were somehow willing to consider itself bound by the pre-state, non-treaty agreement? Even in these very improbable circumstances, the new Arab regime could have ample pretext to identify relevant grounds for lawful treaty termination.
A new Palestinian government could withdraw from the treaty-like agreement because of what it regarded as a “material breach,” a reputed violation by Israel that allegedly undermined the object or purpose of the agreement. Or it could point toward what Latinized international law calls Rebus sic stantibus. In English, this doctrine is known as a “fundamental change of circumstances.”
An Argentinian prosecutor a government official of incitement against Israel and public intimidation.
Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA cultural center, said there is “concrete evidence to start an investigation” of acting Under Secretary of Family Agriculture Emilio Persico, who participated in an Aug. 2 ceremony marking Al Quds Day at the At-Tawhid Mosque in Buenos Aires.
On Aug. 14, the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote to Argentina’s minister of agriculture, Norberto Yauhar, calling for Persico’s removal. “Apparently, the speakers at Al Quds Day in Buenos Aires feel energized and empowered by the Argentina-Iran agreement, and now foment hate with impunity,” Sergio Widder, the Wiesenthal Center’s director for Latin America, told JTA, referring to a much-criticized agreement between the countries to jointly investigate the AMIA bombing.
The next day, Persico went to the headquarters of DAIA, the Jewish political umbrella group, to explain his position. DAIA president Julio Schlosser then told media: “We understood his reasons and the situation is finished.”
The Palestinian leadership, abetted by many Western governments, has now torn up every agreement it made with Israel. Once the efforts of two decades of negotiations—including irrevocable Israeli compromises in giving the Palestinian Authority control over territory, its own armed forces, dismantling settlements, and permitting billions of dollars of foreign aid to the Palestinians—were destroyed, the world has decided to focus the blame on Israel approving the construction of 3000 apartments.
In 1993, Israel signed an agreement with the PLO to make peace in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The accord, known as the Oslo agreement, included the following passage in Article 31:
“Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
By essentially unilaterally declaring the existence of an Arab Palestine, the world has abrogated that agreement.
What is shocking is not just that this has happened, but there has been no discussion much less hesitation by dozens of countries to destroy an agreement that they hitherto supported. Indeed, a study of the history of this agreement shows clearly that the Palestinian side prevented the accord from succeeding, most obviously by permitting and carrying out continuing terrorism and rejecting Israeli offers for a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem both in the 2000 Camp David summit and in the ensuing offer conveyed by President Bill Clinton at the end of that year.
Now there are certain implications of this move. I am completely aware that virtually no one in a position of power in the Western world cares about these implications, but it is necessary to remind them and others of just what they have done. And at least the Western public should know how this all looks from an Israeli perspective, information often denied it altogether or distorted by the mass media.
–They have rewarded the party that refused to make peace.
–They have rewarded the side that rejected the offer of a state and pursued violence instead, cheering the murder of Israeli civilians.
–They have removed the framework on the basis of which Israel made numerous risky concessions including letting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians enter the West Bank and Gaza Strip; establish a government; obtain billions of dollars of money; created military organizations that have been used to attack Israel; establish schools and other institutions which call and teach for Israel’s destruction; and a long list of other things.
As a result of these concessions, terrorists were able to strike into Israel. Today, Hamas and its allies can fire thousands of rockets into Israel. Israel has paid for the 1993 deal; the Palestinian Authority has only taken what it has wanted.
Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, was one of many who stated that the Oslo Accords have now ceased to exist. What then governs the situation and Israel-Palestinian (Palestine?) relations?
There is, for example, no standing for any claim that the Palestinian side has recognized—much less accepted—Israel’s existence. Indeed, a “one-state solution” is daily advocated by Palestinian leaders.
Yet the world’s outrage is reserved for Israel’s announcement that 3000 apartments will be constructed on land claimed by Israel on the West Bank, all built on settlements whose existence until a bilateral agreement was reached was accepted by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. Incidentally, repeatedly decisions of Israeli zoning boards that permit construction in future provoke global hysteria about the bulldozers moving in next week. Perhaps if the Palestinian Authority would make peace those buildings would never get built in a few years.
Whether or not the announcement of this construction was a good idea, the fact is that it is hardly the biggest outrage in what has just happened. The decision is a signal that if the Palestinian side, or indeed the world, isn’t going to recognize what was in effect a treaty—contrary to international practice—and in favor of the side that violated the treaty—even more contrary to international practice—Israel is not going to be bound by the interpretation of that document by those who have torn it up.
Again, what’s important here is not to complain about the unfairness of international life, the hypocrisy of those involved, and the double standards applied against Israel. This is the reality of the situation and must be the starting point for considering what to do.