"Since the Oslo process - even during the tensest of times - scientific cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian academics has continued to take place. Both sides recognize that joint scholarship, particularly between Israeli and Palestinian scientists, can only provide benefit by moving their communities forward economically and intellectually, as well as advancing the cause of dialogue, mutual recognition, reconciliation and peace.
"But until now, joint scientific projects had very limited funding and lacked an umbrella organization to encourage and support them. A new major initiative to solve that problem and encourage such cooperation to grow was recently launched in the form of the Israel Palestinian Scientific Organization.
"The organization will allocate grants averaging $75,000 to selected projects proposed by joint Israeli-Palestinian teams doing scientific work.
"The idea was first conceived in November 2002, at the UNESCO day of Science and Peace and Development, where Menachem Yaari, President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al Quds University in East Jerusalem and Torsten Wiesel, Nobel Laureate, and former president of Rockefeller University, gave keynote lectures focusing on the subject."