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August 26, 2013 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Casualties from the Syrian civil war are being treated in Israeli hospitals, some of them with referrals from Syrian doctors. The identities of the patients and the route they have taken is being kept secret for fear of repercussions from authorities in Syria, which is formally at war with Israel.

The program seems to have originated with the unexpected arrival of seven Syrian rebel fighters at the border in March this year. The IDF initially established a field hospital to treat casualties arriving at the border, but other hospitals have taken over as the number of patients continues to mount.
posted by Joe in Australia (13 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is a great reminder that politicians and "leaders" are generally the people interested in waging war. Regular people just want to act like human beings.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:28 AM on August 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


> as simply an example of humanitarian work

Humanitarian work is complicated even when made with simple best intentions.

Press TV is a 24-hour English language news organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran. They report: Israel sets up field hospital in Golan to treat Syria militants. "..the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants."

Right-wing Jewish Press reports that "most of the patients treated in Israel resumed fighting upon their return to Syria."

See the message: Israel taking side against Iranian axis.

Another pov: When Israel's Help for Injured Syrian Children Is More Than Craven Hasbara .. examines possibility of "hasbara" angle though concludes it is not (forward.com is a leftist paper).

Another pov: Israeli hospitals have large staff's of Arabic doctors and nurses, many of them Palestinian trained in Israeli. Israeli's depend on their continued support and cooperation.

Anyway, I read the memoir of Dr. James Orbinski, president of Doctors Without Borders, and he spends the entire book struggling with selfless humanitarian service and the reality that ever act is a political act and nothing is neutral.
posted by stbalbach at 9:31 AM on August 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Plenty of good people all around.

It's sad in a way that it is far easier for evil thoughts and deeds by a few people to spread more easily than acts of kindness and humanity by a far greater number.

I mean, evolution could have been such that we react more positively to good than we do negatively to evil. But here we are.

There are far more people who want to live at peace with each other than there are those that want to fight. Yet history shows that the fighters always get their way. Fighting shapes our history.

1 act of hatred traumatizes us. 1000 acts of kindness are ignored. Why couldn't it be the other way around?
posted by bitteroldman at 9:35 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another POV: the Israel Syria border region contains a large Druze population, and the way to secure their well being is to open a medical care pipeline right through their turf.
posted by ocschwar at 9:54 AM on August 26, 2013


Of course the people on the Israeli side who allow this medical aid to happen have cynical motives beyond wanting to help fellow humans. As with the revolution in Egypt, it will matter a whole lot to Israel who emerges out of this civil war as the new leaders of Syria. Assad is at least the devil it knows and any change in government, including towards a more democratic Syria holds danger to Israel, so it's unlikely the Israeli government will do more than covertly support some insurgent groups, but humanitarian aid like this, if nothing else, might make the rebels think kinder of their neighbour. Beyond that there's also the aim of strengthening moderate rebel groups, in the same way Israel did in the eighties in Lebanon, not always with the ... nicest groups.

But that doesn't necessarily take away from the good samaritanism displayed by these Israeli doctors and nurses on the ground treating Syrian victims.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:08 AM on August 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


MartinWisse: "humanitarian aid like this, if nothing else, might make the rebels think kinder of their neighbour."

There's no amount of humanitarian aid that can change the opinion Al-Qaeda has of Israel. You can think of other cynical reasons why Israel is spending money and resources on this. Getting brownie points from Islamists is not one of them, because it's an impossible task.
posted by gertzedek at 10:34 AM on August 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is it cynical to attribute cynical motives to someone who renders humanitarian aid to his avowed enemies? What could the cynical motivation be for immediately seeking out a cynical motive in a patently merciful act?
posted by perhapsolutely at 10:50 AM on August 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Of course the people on the Israeli side who allow this medical aid to happen have cynical motives...

You do know that almost all causes of jaundice are treateable nowadays.
posted by ocschwar at 11:15 AM on August 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


What could the cynical motivation be for immediately seeking out a cynical motive in a patently merciful act?

What kind of witch hunt is this? I reminded of a recent quote "Metafilter sometimes feels like a very conformist place, and people definitely do get mobbed here."
posted by stbalbach at 2:35 PM on August 26, 2013


But who will hunt the witch-hunters?
posted by perhapsolutely at 2:59 PM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing that impressed me was the connivance between Syrian doctors (who undoubtedly know that they will be killed if found out) with Israeli ones. There's this huge conspiracy of kindness here and it's one of the few really good bits of news to come from the region lately.

Also, stbalbach's link to The Forward is really essential reading and I wish I had included it in my post.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:19 PM on August 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's no amount of humanitarian aid that can change the opinion Al-Qaeda has of Israel.

Well, no. But not all the Syrian rebels are Al-Quada or even necessarily Islamist. Plenty of more moderate forces there as well.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:48 PM on August 26, 2013


I don't know if they're associated with the medical evacuations, but apparently an Israeli aid group called IL4Syrians is surreptitiously operating within Jordan: Israeli's Sneaking Into Jordan To Help Syrian Refugees.

Also, the Australian ambassador to Israel had something nice to say about the refugees' treatment. What pleasant people Australians are. If you meet any, buy them a beer.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:07 AM on September 2, 2013


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