Category: News

Scientific cooperation in the face of occupation

The following statement was approved at the Annual General Meeting of Scientists for Palestine on January 13th 2019:


Scientists for Palestine believes that free collaboration among nations is one of the pillars of the way the scientific community should operate. Understanding how this principle is infringed in the case of Palestine is of tantamount importance, as we attempt to explain in this document.

The primary obstacle towards strengthening science in Palestine is the ongoing Israeli  occupation of the West Bank, and the siege of the Gaza strip. The occupation infringes on:

  1. The right to education of the Palestinian people: through systematic forced closure [1], raids [2], destructions and even bombing [3] of Palestinian universities, schools [4] and scientific infrastructures, Israeli forces prevent Palestinians from having the right to their own education [5], a right which is protected by Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [6]. Furthermore, there have been instances in which established academics have been held in Israeli jails with neither trial nor official charges, apparently just for criticizing these policies [7].
  2. The freedom of movement: the mobility of Palestinian scientists and students is critically limited by checkpoints in the West Bank [8], which tremendously delay internal travel, an incredibly convoluted system of permits to leave Gaza [9], which makes it a de facto open air prison, and the lack of a single operating airport between the West Bank and Gaza. Modern scientific collaboration can only flourish when scientists are free to travel and are able to experience an exchange of ideas and perspectives.
  3. Access to equipment and infrastructure: Israeli institutions control nearly everything that comes into Gaza and the West Bank, severely restricting what can be imported [8], as well as the granting of planning permissions in ‘Area C’ of the West Bank. This makes it almost impossible for Palestinian scientists to build experiments or the infrastructure needed for large scientific projects.

Those restrictions have a strong impact on potential collaborations between the Palestinian academic community and the international scientific community, including in particular Israel. In fact:

  1. There cannot be a true and fair collaboration between Palestinians and Israelis as long as the former do not have free access to the academic and scientific resources and infrastructure that the latter have (residents of the West Bank and Gaza cannot freely travel to Israel, for instance).
  2. As discussed above, the primary obstacle to Palestinian scientific progress is not a lack of friendliness, but instead those policies implemented by the Israeli government, many in open violation of international law, which repress and discriminate Palestinians.

The Palestinian academic community has largely recognized that their Israeli colleagues’ denouncement and active opposition to the occupation are important. This must be clearly understood as a joint opposition effort between partners that are unequal due to the impacts of the ongoing occupation. Such joint opposition efforts are in contrast to activities that, under the pretext of collaboration, ignore – and thereby normalize – the impact of the occupation in science. Efforts from Israeli academics and scientists of conscience recognizing the situation described in this document and condemning without reservation human right abuses against Palestinians should be encouraged.


References:

[1] University Closure History | Birzeit University.
[2] Birzeit University denounces early-morning campus raid by Israeli military (2017, 14 Dec).
Al-Quds University strongly condemns the raid by the Israeli forces of its campus (2017, 18 Dec).
[3] Israel strikes university in Gaza city, (2014, 2 Aug).
[4] EU Local statement on the dismantling of schools in the West Bank (2018, 26 Oct.).
[5] Israel’s assault on Palestinian universities is a threat to human rights and a tragedy for this generation of students (2018, 21 Oct).
[6] The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
[7] Starved of justice: Palestinians detained without trial by Israel.
[8] Nature: In the Palestinian territories, science struggles against all odds.
[9] Science in the Gaza Strip: the impact of the Israeli occupation. Video produced by Scientists for Palestine.


 

Scientists for Palestine’s Second Annual General Meeting

Scientists for Palestine had its second Annual General Meeting on Sunday, January 13th 2019, the first one since the constituent General Meeting where S4P’s constitution was approved. During this important meeting members came together to assess the actions of the organization over the last year, and to discuss the direction to take for the future year. Members also voted and passed various amendments to the S4P constitution which was thus accordingly modified, other resolutions and elected the leadership of the organization for the following year.

Second International Meeting for Science in Palestine

Our  Second International Meeting for Science in Palestine ended this Sunday at Columbia University, NY, USA.

We are tremendously grateful to everyone who took the time to participate. The weekend was an incredible success and it was beyond wonderful seeing so many people, coming from different backgrounds and sharing different skills, all working towards the same goal: developing innovative visions to support and advanced the integration of the Palestinian scientific community into the broader international community.

Because of the incredible success of the conference, we had to face some exceptional expenses and we are currently $ 1150 dollar short. That is why we have raised our fundraiser goal from $ 5000 to $ 6150. If you haven’t donated yet, and you have money to do it, please consider donating to support our activities, share the fundraiser and ask your friends to support. No donation is too small!

If you missed the meeting you can watch the recordings of the events on our Facebook page, direct links to the various sessions are available here.

 

Second International Meeting streamed live

Friday’s public event was streamed live, and can be seen here.

The meeting’s sessions are being streamed live on our Facebook page. The first session is here.

Second International Meeting for Science in Palestine starting soon

The second International Meeting for Science in Palestine will start soon at Columbia University, NY, USA.

The meeting starts this Friday at 5:30PM with a public event on Doing science under military occupation: the case of Palestine.

The rest of the weekend is for registered participant only, but we will try to live-stream the meeting – more information will be posted here and on our facebook page.

You see the full program here.

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Program now available

The program of the Second International Meeting for Science in Palestine is now available here.

The meeting will open with a public event on Doing science under military occupation: the case of Palestine.

The meeting will continue on Saturday and Sunday with sessions for registered participants only. We will hear updates from Palestinian academics on their research along with the challenges they face to carry it out. The meeting will be a unique opportunity to connect with concerned scientists who are willing to work to help build connections with Palestine.

Public event

Doing science under military occupation

The Second International Meeting for Science in Palestine will open with a public event discussing the circumstances faced by Palestinian academics, and scientists in particular, and what we can do to help.

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Applications for International Meeting

Applications are still open for the Second International Meeting for Science in  Palestine, the event is for registered participants only.

If you would like to participate please don’t forget to fill out the application form here. The application deadline is October 30th 2018.

Fundraising campaign for the 2nd International Meeting for Science in Palestine

Scientists for Palestine is raising funds for the Second International Meeting for Science in  Palestine, and we need your support.

Most of the money collected here will go towards the essential expenses to run the meeting and in particular towards funding airfare and visa fees for our Palestinian colleagues to make it possible for them to attend the gathering. The breakdown will be as follows:

  • $ 3400 will go towards reimbursing visa and travel expenses for Palestinian scientists.
  • $ 1000 will go towards meals during the event and one social dinner.
  • $ 600 will go towards advertisment and extra expenses.

No donation is too small, and all contributions are greatly appreciated!

From November 9th through 11th, 2018 Scientists for Palestine and many other members of the international scientific community, will gather at Columbia University in the City of New York for our Second International Meeting for Science in Palestine, a weekend-long meeting involving multiple plenary and parallel sessions.

The goal of the workshop is to reaffirm our vision and establish new and ambitious objectives for scientific collaboration between the Palestinian and the international community, transcending the limitations caused by 50 years of ongoing occupation.

International meetings for science in Palestine are essential to break the international isolation of the Palestinian academic community. Though organising high-level scientific events requires funding. To make sure that Palestinian academics are able to participate and take an active role in the event we need to face the high cost of airfares and visa fees. Unfortunately securing funding for non-standard scientific gatherings like the upcoming one at Columbia University, can be challenging. Very few universities, laboratories, or science agencies provide funding for such events.

Second International Meeting for Science in Palestine

From November 9th through 11th, 2018 Scientists for Palestine and many other members of the international scientific community, will gather at Columbia University in the City of New York for a weekend-long meeting involving multiple plenary and parallel sessions. The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, Science for the People and Within our Lifetime • United for Palestine. This will be Scientists for Palestine’s second international gathering, after a similar initiative hosted earlier this year at the University of Cambridge, UK.

The event is only open for registered participants, if you would like to participate please fill out the application form. The application deadline is October 30th 2018. Up to date information will be available in the gathering’s webpage, and on the Facebook event.

Participants are expected to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements.

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Support Palestinian students

Lack of funding for Palestinians pursuing their studies, both at home and abroad, is a considerable obstacle for the advancement in their careers. Opportunities for scholarship exist (gathered here) but they can be narrow in scope. We thus decided to advertise individual fundraising campaigns created directly by Palestinian students in order to support their studies here.

Scientists for Palestine is seeking support for a mentoring initiative

Scientists for Palestine is seeking a concrete support for a mentoring initiative involving Palestinian students and academics.

In keeping with S4P’s mission, we hope that many of you might be able to assist one or more Palestinian students or academics working in, undertaking a degree in, or seeking employment in your area of work. Examples of such assistance may include:

  • Academic writing mentoring (i.e. help with English and technical writing) for dissertations, research manuscripts, etc.
  • Review and feedback on a student application for a higher education degree or postgraduate employment.
  • Review and feedback on an academic’s research manuscript, grant proposal, etc.

Indeed, S4P has every indication that such assistance is in high demand at all levels of Palestinian science, from undergraduate to senior academic, so we expect no shortage of requests.

However, we are acutely conscious that spare time is in very short supply for many of you. That is why we would tremendously value your support in this mentoring project! We seek help of scientist of conscience who could make an immediate impact on the learning experience and/or career progression of Palestinian scientists, whose full potential is clearly thwarted by the direct and indirect effects of the Israeli Occupation.

Your contribution has the potential to open up opportunities to students and colleagues with a great passion for science and remarkable determination to excel, despite their right to education being compromised on a daily basis.

Please fill out this form if are willing to help in any way.

Funding opportunities for Palestinian Students and Academics

We are pleased to announce that our website has a new section collecting important information about a wide variety of funding opportunities for Palestinian students and academics.

Scholarships & Funding Opportunities

In particular, there are now links to various scholarships for students.

We are committed to keep this section as update as possible hoping this list will keep on growing. If you know of any funding opportunity which you think could be useful but that is missing, let us know filling out our appropriate form. It only takes a couple of minutes!

We are now currently working on expanding the section to also include information about different summer schools, as well as research grants relevant for Palestinian academics.

Funding opportunities for Palestinian students and academics

We are collecting information on funding opportunities for Palestinian students and academics, and to develop our activities (for example to organize scientific schools in Palestine, exchange programs for Palestinian students, funding opportunities for Palestinian students to study abroad, supporting media project to talk about the impact of the Israeli Occupation on education in Palestine).

If you know of any funding opportunity that might be useful please take a moment to share it with us here.
We plan to compile some of this information to make it publicly available on our website.

Thank you!

Science in the Gaza Strip: the impact of the Israeli occupation

To become a scientist in the Gaza Strip you have to overcome insurmountable difficulties, a taste is given in this amazing short video. The video was first shown at our first International Meeting for Science in Palestine at University of Cambridge.

This effort would have been impossible without the incredible collaboration of Afnan Alostaz, Mohammed Sabbah and Mohammed Zourob.

International Meeting for Science in Palestine

Our first International Meeting for Science in Palestine ended last Sunday, January 7th, after a productive weekend where scientists from all over the world, including the West Bank and Gaza came together to discuss how to implement concrete programs and long term visions to strengthen the growth of science in Palestine and help build ties between the Palestinian and international scientific communities. The final program is available here.

If you couldn’t attend the meeting in person you can watch the talks here.

International Meeting for Science in Palestine starting soon

The International Meeting for Science in Palestine  will start tomorrow, Friday January 5th.

The program is now available here. If you can’t attend in person follow us on Facebook live starting at 9:30 a.m. GMT on Saturday January 6th.

International Meeting for Science in Palestine

Applications are now open for our first International Meeting for Science in Palestine, to be held in Cambridge, U.K., from January 5th through 7th, 2018.

This will be the first international gathering to discuss how to implement concrete programs and long term visions to strengthen the growth of science in Palestine and help build ties between the Palestinian and international scientific communities. The target audience is a mix of Palestinian academics and students, and of international scientists committed to advancing these goals. For more information visit the meeting’s website here.

 

Students from Gaza

Four students from Gaza were forced to remotely participate to PAPS 2017, the second Palestinian Advanced Physics School at Birzeit University as they were denied travel permits to attend the school. The restrictions imposed by the Israeli government are so strict that even delivering the physical certificate to them was not easy.
Thanks to Dr. Wafaa Khater and Dr. Badran, from Birzeit University and to Dr. Sulaiman al Barakeh from Al Aqsa University in Gaza, they were able to obtain a more than a well deserved certificate recognizing their work.

PAPS 2017 a great success

The 2017 edition of the Palestinian Advanced Physics School, hosted by Birzeit University, ended on July 13th. We are happy to say that the school was a great success!

The incredible success of the school would not have been possible without the support of the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), our local Palestinian support and the over two-hundreds donors who have contributed with small and large donations to raise the funds to make this event a reality. There are no words to thank you enough!

Visit our facebook page for more photos of the school and for videos of the lectures.

PAPS 2017 now taking place at Birzeit University

Unfortunately due to reasons beyond our control the school can longer take place at Al-Quds University and will instead take place at Birzeit University. The dates and speaker list remain unchanged (available here).

Applications are now open for the school, interested students can apply by June 10th here.

PAPS 2017 Fundraiser concluded

Thanks to incredible support by more than 200 donors the fundraiser for the second Palestinian Advanced Physics school was a great success!
The school will become a reality and will take place at Al-Quds University on July 2017.

Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with the news from the school,  and for updates on other initiatives.

Although this particular campaign has ended, if you would still like to support our activities we have started a continuous fundraiser here.
With your support we can  keep working towards other goals, such as:

  • Creating a mentorship program to match students in Palestine with more senior researchers throughout the world.
  • Allowing students from neighboring countries or Europe to attend the school (and its future incarnations), building further long-term relationships between the Palestinian and international scientific communities.
  • Offering fellowships for highly qualified Palestinian students to pursue higher education abroad.

Thus please consider donating if you can – your donation will make a difference to science in Palestine. No donation is too small!

Fundraising update

Thanks to the generous support of many donors, we are happy to say that we have smashed our fundraising target. In addition to hosting the Palestinian Advanced Physics School 2017 as described below, the spectacular level of support that we have received will now help us towards other goals, such as:

  • Creating a mentorship program to match students in Palestine with more senior researchers throughout the world.
  • Allowing students from neighboring countries or Europe to attend the school (and its future incarnations), building further long-term relationships between the Palestinian and international scientific communities.
  • Offering fellowships for highly qualified Palestinian students to pursue higher education abroad.

Though our immediate fundraising goals have been met, please consider donating if you can – your donation will make a difference to science in Palestine.

Last two weeks of fundraiser

The momentum around our campaign doesn’t cease! The public endorsement of Stephen Hawking (here) has generated quite a bit of attention leading to coverage by international media outlets like Haaretz (here), Israel most liberal newspaper. The American Physical Society has also publically advertise our campaign (here).

There are no words to thank you enough for the almost 200 donations we have received. We are now well above our goal, although $ 7500 was the bare minimum that we needed. The Second Palestinian Advanced Physics School is happening; we have already consolidated the dates and the first prominent lecturer.

The money received allow us to raise slightly our ambitions. We have already made connections with the Palestine Technical University (of Tulkarm) which could possibly host the school in 2018. We are also working on establishing a system of fellowships and scholarships for Palestinian students in non-Palestinian universities. Lack of funding is a major impediment in the ability of Palestinian students to pursue careers in the sciences.

But to keep expanding our ambitions we need your support! Please consider continuing making a donation towards our cause. No donation is too small!

For updates on our activities, visit this website and/or follow Scientists for Palestine on facebook.

Second Palestinian Advanced Physics School

Preparations for the second Palestinian Advanced Physics School (PAPS 2017) to take place at Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, are well underway.

A fundraising campaign to help make PAPS 2017 a reality is going well, with over 70% of the funds raised!

A very big thank you to all our generous donors!

Statement on the Israeli raids at Birzeit University

imageAt the recent physics school organised by Scientists for Palestine, a quarter of the students and key members of the organising committee were from Birzeit University. It therefore grieves us to see that today this university was again raided and vandalised. As fellow educators we are deeply saddened to see the occupation’s ongoing obstruction of teachers and students in their pursuit of knowledge.

Click here for more details on the raids

Statement on travel restrictions for students from Gaza

“[H]igher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit”,  states article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. We, “Scientists for Palestine”, the organisers of the first Palestinian Advanced Physics School, embrace the declaration of human rights. It is then with deep regret that we note that the right to education has again been violated by the Israeli occupation of Palestine.  

The Palestinian Advanced Physics School, held at the Arab American University in Jenin and attended by roughly thirty Masters students from four Palestinian universities on the West Bank, included lecturers from world-leading international scientists, problem solving sessions and tutorials. The school was regarded as a major success by the attending students, lecturers and organisers alike, yet we regret that a highly merited student from Gaza, accepted to the school, was not granted permission by the occupation to travel to Jenin and attend the school — a clear violation of this student’s human rights.  

Despite the hardships caused by the occupation, science in Palestine continues to grow and strengthen its international connections. Scientists for Palestine will be proud to continue to support this development.

The first Palestinian Advanced Physics School a great success

PAPS16 group picture

Thursday July 28th concluded the first ever Palestinian Advanced Physics School hosted by the Arab American University of Jenin and organised by Scientists for Palestine. The three days school attracted world famous scholars giving lectures ranging from foundations of particle physics to  applications of synchrotron radiation, from the mathematical structure of symmetries in nature to surprising effects of light-matter interactions. The school was attended by roughly 30 Palestinian physics master students  from four Palestinian Universities (An-Najah, Al Quds, Arab American University and Birzeit).

This was the first event organised by Scientists for Palestine, and we were thrilled to see how all our preparations would turn out. Fortunately the success of the school exceeded our expectations. Everyone involved, from the students to the lecturers, were very happy for the whole duration of the school. Wonderful lectures were followed by engaging and stimulating, hands-on, problem solving sessions and each day ended with a Palestinian dinner provided by the organisers. There is no better way to do physics than with a smile on your face and delicious food in your belly!

There was only one shared criticism: the school was too short! We are already working on a possible week-long school with a broadened scope, for future years.

poster

We, Scientists for Palestine, are very grateful to CERN, the Sharing the Knowledge Foundation, the Arab American University and Birzeit University for financial  and practical support for the school. Moreover, we are enormously grateful to the work and support of Dr. Adli Saleh (Arab American University) and Dr. Wafaa Khater (Birzeit University). Without their contributions and guidance the school would have not been possible.

More photos from the school can be found on the Scientists for Palestine Facebook page.