As the first Israel Defense Forces emergency aid team (there is now a second) left for Haiti, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “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.”
There was no irony in his comment, but there could have been.
The “experience” to which he referred was, of course, experience pulling Israeli victims of terror out of buildings and buses bombed by Hamas and Fatah over the years. Israeli medical triage for large-scale trauma is a necessarily well-developed art, and ZAKA’s skill in handling gruesome wreckage with dignity for the victims – living and dead – is being put to good use in the devastation of Haiti. ZAKA is the Israeli volunteer, non-governmental rescue, life-saving, and recovery organization.
The IDF team consisted of a medical mission and search-and-rescue teams. The search-and-rescue included 30 operators and dozens of operations personnel including logistics, IT, communications, and canine units. The medical team established one of the largest medical facilities currently operating in Haiti, able to treat up to 500 patients per day and equipped with:
â€¢ operating rooms,
â€¢ an intensive care ward,
â€¢ a maternity ward – at least two babies have been born,
â€¢ a pediatrics ward,
â€¢ incubator units,
â€¢ a pharmacy,
â€¢ X-ray equipment,
â€¢ 10 tons of medical equipment,
â€¢ 90 beds, 66 intensive-care beds, and two delivery beds, and
â€¢ approximately 250 personnel, including 40 doctors and specialists, 20 nurses, and several paramedics.
Also without irony was Jamal Al-Khudary, head of the “Committee to Break the Siege” of Gaza, who announced aid from Gaza to Haiti, saying “We are here today supporting the victims of Haiti. We feel for them the most because we were exposed to our own earthquake during Israel’s war on Gaza.”
It would be laughable to think of the Palestinians under Hamas rule – suffering for their own lousy leadership’s decision to make war on the people of Israel from behind the civilians of Gaza – as innocent victims, if the dire situation in Haiti would allow us to laugh. It is disgusting for Palestinians to appropriate a natural disaster of historic magnitude and compare it to the inevitable consequence of Hamas’ veneration of violence, despoiling of its own children, and the degradation of the Jewish people – despite which Israel continues to spend millions providing food and other aid to the people of Gaza.
We suspect the Haitian people will simply be grateful for Israel’s dedication to saving lives wherever its skills are needed. We are.