A Stumbleupon entry linking to the English Language version of the Chinese People’s Daily Online was brought to my attention.

The headline was “Israel, China discuss cooperation in search for renewable energy”.

Note that this is Israel (size of New Jersey, population about 7 million) and China (which is the size of a planet).

Why would China be interested in Israel?

Israeli and Chinese experts on Thursday wrapped up a three-day conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) that focused on the prospects of joining forces in the search for affordable, efficient renewable energy.

Well, that seems important in a world of decreasing energy stocks and a huge increase in consumption from China and India. If China is serious about reducing its emissions and not having to destroy the environment with vast coal-mining projects, it needs to find an alternative. You would think that, maybe, the super-power America would be a more natural partner or even India.

But it’s little beleaguered Israel that is making the running.

The meeting, the first of its kind, brought together technical experts from the engineering sciences and industry, as well as from economics and policy-making fields, to consider energy planning and policy over the next decades.

“Basically, you’ve got two aspects here,” organizer Richard Hardiman, HU professor, told Xinhua. He said the conference was an attempt to build a bridge between Israel’s technology and China’s market.

So China has enough confidence in Israel’s technological know-how to want to buy in the expertise. This would be of immense benefit to Israel’s economy.

It’s Israel’s leading role in PV (photovoltaic) cell technology which is exciting the Chinese.  China is the world’s leading manufacturer and is already predicting a huge growth in PV energy 20 20 gigawatts by 2020. So there is a definite natural alliance here between Israeli research and development and Chinese manufacturing skills.

There is a possible added bonus. Jordan is interested. Clearly, countries with vast amounts of solar energy potential in the region would be stupid to ignore it.

Jordan also sent three representatives to learn how the country and neighbors in the region can model such efforts.

One of them was Malik AboRashid, president and CEO of Opus Resources Limited, a San Francisco-based management company active in the Middle East.

“Should this be successful, how do we model it, and solicit assistance to do something very similar in other parts of the world?” AboRashid said.

“China and Israel are powerhouses of technology and centers of excellence, so how do we learn from that, to use their technology and what they’ve learned to implement that in other countries,” he said.

Would it be too fanciful to ponder that Israel’s technological skills can be a force to bring peace via scientific co-operation and interdependence?

China is no model of democracy and human rights but it is a profound truth in Realpolitik that when a country becomes so important to the world economy, becomes the USA’s banker and the world’s leading energy and resources consumer, all such niceties become the stuff of polite political enquiry.

If the Europeans are so eager to trade with China despite its appalling human rights record  and its destruction of Tibetan culture, then it is certainly hypocritical of them to try to bully Israel when it comes to the ongoing conflict because that country has only a tiny global footprint.