“It happens nearly every night” (& Israel to take in 100 Syrian orphans)

January 26, 2017

Israeli soldiers provide emergency medical treatment to wounded Syrian civilians in an Israeli military ambulance, near the Syrian-Israeli border last week. “It happens nearly every night,” reports Reuters. “After dark, the Syrian wounded come to known locations on the Israel-Syria front in the Golan Heights, driven by desperation to seek help from an enemy army.”



[Note by Tom Gross]

The Israeli government has confirmed a report on Israel’s Channel 10 news yesterday evening that Israel is to grant refugee status to 100 children orphaned during the Syrian civil war. It will also grant them legal a path to staying in Israel permanently, if necessary.

Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, from the right-wing Shas party, added that close relatives of the orphans would also be considered for refugee status in Israel, and should their parents later be found alive, they would have the option of joining their children in Israel.

The orphans will initially be placed with Arab Israeli families, who would be provided with government grants to help pay for their upbringing.

Contrary to some of the misreporting in the international media today, which suggests that Israel has not been helping Syrians these past 6 years, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has been quietly helping Syria’s injured in Israeli hospitals throughout the 6-year war. It has also assisted Israeli-government and privately funded Israeli NGOs to send food and medical supplies both into Syria itself and to Syrians in refugee camps along the Jordan-Syria border.


This is despite the fact that the two countries have officially been in a state of war since 1948, and that many majority-Muslim countries have refused to give refugee status to Syrians

The IDF has on occasion risked its soldiers lives to rescue injured Syrians and bring them back across the border for life-saving operations in Israeli hospitals .

Israeli medics have also helped deliver babies for pregnant Syrian women who pleaded for help across the border, and Israeli hospitals have treated young Syrians using state-of-the-art medical procedures that allowed them to walk again.

There has been occasional reporting about this in the international media, and I include another such example of this below, which was published on Tuesday by Reuters news agency.

While taking a hard line against automatically granting access to Syrian refugees in America, U.S. President Donald Trump said yesterday that he would help create safe zones in Syria for refugees fleeing violence, fulfilling a campaign promise. (Hillary Clinton had also promised to do this). If Trump does this, it will reverse 6 years of refusal by Barack Obama to create safe zones within Syria despite desperate pleas by Syrian refugees, so they wouldn’t have to flee their country in the first place.


Among other related dispatches, please see:

* Video dispatch 18: Syrian refugees: “May God bless Israel” (Sept. 2, 2013) -- includes a video report from Israeli TV of Israelis secretly working across the border.

*Israel’s secret doctors (& Disabled Gaza toddler lives at Israeli hospital) (Sept. 18, 2013) -- includes a moving video report from CNN

* Saudi Arabia’s 100,000 unused air-conditioned tents denied to refugees; will build 200 new mosques in Germany instead (Sept. 11, 2015)

* UK Muslim leader: Grand Mosque collapse “a blessing in disguise” (& Israelis save Syrian refugees off Greek coast) (Sept. 15, 2015)

* Syrian teen who saved 18 lives, wins Olympic heat (& Facebook snubs Israeli Olympic team) (Aug. 7, 2016)



Under cover of night, Syrian wounded seek help from enemy Israel
Reuters news agency
January 24, 2017

It happens nearly every night. After dark, the Syrian wounded come to known locations on the Israel-Syria front in the Golan Heights, driven by desperation to seek help from an enemy army.

Israeli soldiers on lookout or patrol spot them waiting by the fence and whisk them away to a rear position where army medics soon arrive, according to army officials operating in the area that was seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel refuses to accept refugees fleeing the nearly six-year conflict in Syria, a country with which it remains technically at war. But it has allowed in more than 2,600 Syrians for medical care.

On one bitterly cold January night, gunfire and explosions could be heard in the near distance as Israeli medics dressed the injuries of two Syrian men, one suffering a head wound.

"We're doing everything we can to save their lives, to stabilize them and evacuate them to hospital," said Captain Aviad Camisa, deputy chief medical officer of the Golan brigade.

The medics lift the wounded men onto an army ambulance which slowly drives off down a dirt road.

A Syrian family -- two grandparents, a mother, father and a child aided by a walker -- pass by as they prepare to cross back into Syria in the dead of night.

"Some of the stories stir your emotions. When children come, as a father, it touches me personally," Camisa said.

Millions have fled and hundreds of thousands have been killed in Syria's conflict, which shows only fitful signs of being resolved.

The trail to Israel is full of risks.

Those who spoke to Reuters at Ziv medical Center in Safed, northern Israel, did so freely but asked not to be identified by name or have their faces photographed or filmed for fear of retribution back home.

The Israeli army helped facilitate access to the hospital, perhaps concerned to counter the negative image it has in most of the Arab world.

One man, his legs pierced by shrapnel, survived a bomb attack in his village in which 23 people were killed.

"In the past we used to know Israel as our enemy. That's what the regime used to tell us," he said. "When we came to Israel we changed our minds, there is no enmity between us.

"In the end we discovered that our regime is the enemy of us all," he said, referring to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

In a nearby room sits a seven-year-old Syrian girl, her mother by her side. She was hit by shrapnel from a mortar shell about two months ago and suffered life-threatening injuries; her internal organs and three of her limbs were badly hurt.

"In the first weeks we try not to ask them many questions because we are afraid that it will be more stress," said Issa Fares, an Israeli Arab Christian social worker at the hospital, where many of the staff are native Arabic speakers.

Israel has not formally taken sides in the Syrian conflict. It opposes the presence of Iranian forces and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah ranged alongside Assad, but is also alarmed by the hardline Islamist groups fighting against him.


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