Friday, January 15, 2010

Israel Aids Haiti; Arab Nations Ignore The Disaster

Cross-posted Here

The tragedy in Haiti is mind-boggling in its extent. Countries around the world are mobilizing to offer assistance. The Canadian Press just reviewed the list of those who are offering assistance: of course the wealthier developed countries such as the US and many EU countries as would be expected, but also India and China as well as regional countries such as Mexico and Venezuela. And, of course, Israel.

Israel, though there are almost no Jews in Haiti aside from tourists.
Israel, though Haiti routinely sides with the most one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the UN.
Israel, though Haiti is far away from the Middle East.

This is not a new phenomenon. Israel sent aid after the devasting Asian tsunami in 2004 , after earthquakes in India and El Salvador in 2001 and Greece and Turkey in 1999. This isn't just Israelis contributing donations, but also mobilization of the Israel Defense Forces itself to provide direct assistance.

One might expect that the Arab states, many of them awash in oil revenue, would offer similar assistance. A Google search for "Arab earthquake aid Haiti" yields a few teasers on news sites that on further investigation are hits from unrelated stories on those sites, so the net result is pretty much what the Arab nations are providing: next to nothing. This should not surprise anyone, given their relatively miniscule contributions to UNRWA to assist the descendants of their fellow Arab refugees from the 1947-48 war-- a war which the Arab nations encouraged, supported, and bear responsibility for the resulting refugee population.

Several American organizations are raising funds which will be funneled through IsraAid, Israel's consortium of humanitarian aid groups. You can make contributions to IsraAid via B'nai B'rith International or via the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (select "Haiti Earthquake Relief" from the dropdown menu).

Haiti's government has more important things to worry about right now, but I can't help but wonder whether, when the next viciously anti-Israel resolution comes before the UN General Assembly, their representatives will remember that Israel (and the worldwide Jewish community) responded to their desperate situation with immediate and unconditional aid. And the Arab nations? Maybe they'll offer the Haitians discounted leases at the new Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.


Anonymous said...

Prime Minister Netanyahu: "Our decision to immediately dispatch a large Israeli team of doctors, nurses, medics, search and rescue personnel, medicines and equipment for a field hospital and operating room to Haiti expresses the deep values that have characterized the Jewish People and the State of Israel all throughout our history.

Given Israel's security needs, we have accumulated much search and rescue experience over the years. We have applied this experience previously in disaster scenes throughout the world – in Mexico, Argentina, Armenia, Kenya, Turkey and elsewhere. I hope and wish that the Israeli mission will succeed, this time as well, in saving as many lives – children, parents and families – in Haiti as possible."

Anonymous said...

Israeli field Hospital in Haiti operational

The Israeli aid delegation to Haiti began operating its emergency field hospital in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince Saturday evening.

Footage of IDF rescue team in Haiti

The hospital includes an intensive care room, delivery rooms and wards for children and the elderly. Many injured people were reportedly being treated at the hospital and more were on their way.

Anonymous said...

Religious ZAKA volunteers worked through Shabbat managed to save 8 students from a collapsed building.
And rumor has it that a Haitian baby born in the IDF mobile hospital was named "Israel"
by his grateful mother

Anonymous said...

Great Youtubes: The IDF is saving lives in Haiti

jbarelli said...

Israel can be proud of its contribution to help Haiti, but apparently some here haven't noticed that several Arab nations are working right alongside the Israelis.

Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco. They're working right alongside the Israelis.

Other Muslim countries that are helping include Turkey and Iran.

Yes, Saudi Arabia should get into the act, too. So far, they haven't done more than send condolences. Hopefully, seeing all of their neighbors (including Israel) helping while they sit idle will encourage them to help as well.

How about finding some hope in the fact that Arabs and Israelis are finding some common ground, rather than making false claims that others aren't helping?

Anonymous said...

The Arab nations joined in after being asked directly, well after this article was posted.
Jordan has actually talked about humanitarian cooperation with Israel after watching the compassion and efficiency of the Israeli response in Haiti.