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Israel

No Israel, Time Is Not On Your Side

Analysis: The Arab Spring and conflict in Syria have taken the focus off of the intractable standoff of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. But Israel should not be fooled into thinking that stalling is anything resembling a real strategy -- or solution.

The West Bank barrier in the town of Ras Atiya (Paolo Cuttitta palestine)
The West Bank barrier in the town of Ras Atiya (Paolo Cuttitta palestine)
Alexenia Dimitrova

PARIS - More than a year ago, Israel's reaction to the Arab Spring was perceived as a cautious wait-and-see attitude, as one more reason to maintain the status quo with the Palestinians. In any case, says Jerusalem, exactly with whom should we be negotiating? The Palestinian Authority is no longer considered representative of the people; and Hamas, its rival, is a terrorist organization. After the second round of the Egyptian presidential election, the Israelis felt confirmed in their skepticism.

Didn't history appear to agree with them? They can't imagine the Egyptians -- Islamists or not -- foregoing a cold peace for a hot war. Egypt just doesn't have the financial resources to launch such a reckless adventure. One wonders if it knows how it will pay public employees in four to five months.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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