This is a guest post from Joy Wolfe
It is not Israel who is indifferent to the suffering of the Palestinian people, it is their own leadership who, for the past 61 years, have deliberately deprived them of a decent standard of life and any benefit form the millions of dollars of international aid that should have guaranteed them statehood and, proper living conditions and all the benefits of peace.
But irrespective of that, to accuse Israel of double standards when she goes to the aid of disaster victims, fully equipped and ready to get straight on with the rescue effort, is truly contemptible. There is a long catalogue of disasters where Israel has been at the forefront of the mercy missions and it is not to gain brownie points or recognition. The Israelis put themselves in physical danger when risking their lives to save victims, and subsequently provide medical attention and care that is second to none. Amazingly, the international media has fully recognised the quality and quantity of Israel’s aid. It is hard to comprehend the sheer scale of the field hospital that was set up in such a short space of time. But Seth Freedman seeks to highlight the tiny minority of sick minds who tried to diminish this effort, even making obscene allegations that only appeared in little known outlets, but he needed to give them more exposure. Watching the dedicated medical teams at work, seeing and hearing the gratitude of the Haitian people whose lives they touched, makes the thought of the accusations totally reprehensible.
If it it wasn’t for people like Seth Freedman it would be perfectly possible for news stories connected to Israel to just tell their stories without any baggage. That should certainly have been the case when it came to Haiti. But true to form Seth and the Guardian could not resist cheap unfair comparisons with the alleged Israeli lack of compassion for the Palestinians.
To say Israel has done next to nothing to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians is so far from the truth. Israel has stood willing and able to do so much, but has been stopped by Hamas and successive cynical leaders who wanted them to retain their “refugee status”. Even when at war Israel continued to send in supplies to Gaza, and still does so on a regular basis, despite crossing points being bombed and humanitarian aid being stolen by Hamas.
Hamas also prevented Gazans from travelling to a medical centre set up by the Israelis by the border.
Israel continues to give medical treatment to many Palestinians in Israel and during Operation Cast Lead treated many injured Palestinians. It is sad to say but I can’t imagine that happening if it was Israelis needing Palestinian aid.
Finally I do not subscribe to the concept that it is in Israel’s best interests to strangle the Palestinian economy. On the contrary it is in the best interests of peace for the Palestinians to develop a vibrant strong economy with the people being able to sample the benefits of peace. It is mpossible to understand why the first thing the Gazan people did when it was ethnically cleansed of Jews was to destroy much of the infrastructure and the greenhouses that would have provided a livelihood and employment for so many of their people.
I suggest Seth Freedman takes a long hard look at who is really responsible for the undoubted suffering of the Palestinians. I also suggest that he does not use Israel’s amazing efforts in Haiti as a stick to beat them with.