Israel aids the Turkish victims of earthquake

This past sunday, a devastaing earthquake shocked a region in East Turkey. I’m sure you’ve heard about it – as with every natrual disaster, the horrifying stories of the wreckage, the victims and the amazing stories of those survived and pulled out of debris after so many days makes headlines and front-page news. The earthquake in Turkey was no excpetion of course.

As the magnitude of the disaster came to light, a few short hours after the earthquake happened, Israel did what is always does in these situations – it began to offer help to Turkey in handling this disaster. As a policy, Israel offers help whenever it can to whomever it can help. It did so in Haiti, Japan, New Zealand and much more.

In 1999, when a truly catastrophic earthquake hit Turkey, an Israeli team build a camp for people who suddenly became homeless. In a short while, it builded a village that housed 3,000 people and contained 312 housing units, a shopping center, a clinic, playgrounds, a school where about 420 children contiuned to study and much more. It also sent rescue teams that helped dig and recover people from under wreckage.

Today, even though ties between the governments of Israel and Turkey are strained, Israel offered help in a short while and from four different fronts – through the Israeli Prime Minister, through the Israeli Prisdent, through the Ministery of Defense and through the Ministery of foriegn relations.

On Tuesday, Turkey agreed to receive help from the world and has asked Israel to faciliate in forming a similiar village, only smaller this time. Israel has sent an airplane full of 5 transportable housing units that can easily be hooked up to water and electricy, and in addition sent 2,000 brass coats, 2,000 brass blankets and 100 inflatable matresses. This morning another airplane took off with more aid to Turkey and Israel is preparing to send much more transportable housing units through the sea (since a ship can carry much more than an airplane).

This of course does not change the diplomatic relations between the countries. Turkey is still holding to its’ hardline policy against Israel. The reasons for their acts as “the neighborhood bully”, especially against Israel (but not exculsive, as Cyprus can tell you), I have already explained.

It is amazing though how the public, to whom this animosity has trickled to, doesn’t stop for one second to think – They’re accusations are that Israel delibertly attacked a humanitarian convoy, not that it was trying to impose a blockade (one that they view as illegal) on a convoy that refused to comply peacefully. Yet, here is one of great examples that Israel is helpful to humanitarian causes and takes an active part in them. Even when it comes to people living under governments who act against it. It’s surprising they won’t stop to ask for one second, if perhaps that convoy and the relatively small number of people upon it who chose violent and incitement that ended in nine casualties and many wounded on both sides was also in the wrong. At the flotilla incident on May 31th, Israel offered many times to deliver the humanitarian aid aboard the vessels through the land corssings. It has no problem with humanitarian aid, it does not act in a none-humanitarian way. It’s sad that even now they won’t open their eyes and ask – maybe not just one side was in the wrong?


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