Remarks at the Press Announcement
of the Greenstar International Innovation Award

City Hotel, Ramallah, West Bank: March 14, 1999
by Michael North, Director of Greenstar Foundation

"Greenstar came to Palestine for the first time just a few weeks ago. On the recommendation of the US Department of Energy, we worked with the Palestinian Energy Authority to install solar power in the remote village of Arab Al-Kaabneh, south of Hebron.

In just those few weeks, a tremendous amount has been accomplished with our PEA partners, with the able assistance of Director-General Omar Kittaneh and his staff, including Ahmad Abu-Sabha. In fact, I'm pleased to announce that last night, in the dark, a large solar photovoltaic array was connected to batteries and electronics, and that this morning, as the first rays of light rose over the Dead Sea, the sun began to charge those batteries. For the first time ever, Al-Kaabneh has electrical power.

Over the next few days, wiring connections will be completed to power lights for the school, an ultraviolet water purifier, a vaccine cooler for the clinic, an amplifier and lights for the mosque, a television and VCR, and a state-of-the-art computer system. This computer will soon be connected to the Internet, and a Website for the village will be established: "" The people of the village will help operate the site, which will allow them to sell locally-produced products to a worldwide market over the web

So Greenstar would like to present an award to the Palestinian Energy Authority, for their catalytic role in making this project possible. I ask Dr. Hamad to please accept the first International Innovation Award. This is not an award for a final achievement, something finished and completed -- it is a recognition of something well and truly begun, with much more accomplishment to follow.

Let this be a symbol of friendship between the Palestinian and American people, between the Israeli and American people. And let it be a symbol of friendship between Israel and Palestine, for whom it is our profound prayer that their people live in peace, based on security and economic independence, upon this sacred land."