UN Honors Israeli Doctors amid Gaza Violence and a Crisis on the Syrian Border

Israel News Recap (Without the Rhetoric)


Israel NewsJul 2, 2018

Israel NewsJul 2, 2018


Tamar Shapira of Save a Child's Heart, via i24 News (Hiba Zoabi)

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As more Israeli troops are added to the Syrian border in the face of increased turmoil encroaching on the border, Israel is also increasing the amount of humanitarian aid to Syrians in need.

IDF Reinforces Syrian Border, Sends More Aid

For years, Israel has held a strong defensive position on their northern border as Syria has flamed in civil war, but the fallout of a new Syrian government offensive in South Syria threatens to push a humanitarian crisis right to the border.

South Syria has long been a stronghold for Syrian rebels, but significant gains by the pro-government forces in the last couple of weeks have sent thousands of civilians living in rebel-held territory fleeing toward the Israeli Golan Heights and the Jordanian border.

If the military push continues to move forward, there is the additional complication of Syrian troops massing near the Israeli border. To counter that, the IDF is sending tanks and artillery to the border. Previously, Israel and the rebels have not clashed over the border as that wouldn’t serve the immediate interests of either group.

Israel issued a statement that said it is holding to a policy of non-intervention in the Syrian civil war, according to Reuters. Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, but claims those were to prevent attacks against Israel.

Besides the military buildup, Israel has increased the amount of humanitarian aid sent over the border. The Washington Post reports that Israel supplied three hundred tents and sixty tons of food, clothing, medicine and other aid to thousands of internally displaced Syrians fleeing heavy bombardment by Syrian government forces. FAI Relief, a faith-based aid group operating in Syria with the support of the Israeli government, said the aid operation took place last Thursday night at four locations.

Israel has sent aid into Syria for several years and provided medical treatment to thousands of Syrians that reach the border under Operation Good Neighbor. The Washington Post quoted the commander of the aid operation, saying, “The picture has changed over the past week and a half. These are people who fled their homes with nothing ... we realized we had to do something different.”

The military says it has delivered more than 1,500 tons of food, 250 tons of clothing and nearly a million liters of fuel in aid for Syria since the operation began.

Gaza Conflict Continues, Media Attention Drops

Thousands of Gazans still gather to protest near the Israeli security fence resulting in clashes with the military protecting the border that kill some and leave dozens injured, but in the past several weeks global media attention has dwindled.

On June 29, some 2,000 Palestinians gathered at the fence for the weekly Hamas-led protest against the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza resulting in dismal humanitarian conditions in the strip. The protests have been ongoing since March, and for weeks garnered major news coverage as violence between rioters and the IDF resulted in high casualty lists. The past several weeks have seen a major drop in global attention.

Last weekend, the Jerusalem Post reported that another protest in Ramallah specifically against President Trump’s talk of a Middle East Peace Plan left thirty-five injured.

The Gaza border protest left 415 wounded and two dead, including a 13- or 14-year-old boy who was killed after being shot in the head by the IDF, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The ministry’s numbers claim that since the protests began, more than 130 Palestinians have been killed and more than 14,000 wounded.

Israel is continuing to attempt to thwart Palestinians releasing fire kites and incendiary balloons into Israeli fields. The Jerusalem Post reported that on Sunday there were at least twelve active fires raging from the kites. So far, more than 450 fires have been started, burning hundreds of acres of farm and forest land. The IDF struck a vehicle and outpost in Gaza said to be launching points for the devices. The drone that made that strike also fired near a group of youth preparing the devices, no casualties were reported.

Last Wednesday twelve rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel. The Iron Dome system intercepted three, and all militant factions in Gaza claimed responsibility. Two Palestinians caught infiltrating the Gaza border fence were stopped by Israeli tank fire that killed one and wounded the other. An IDF statement said Molotov cocktails were identified at the infiltration site.

The West Bank has seen an increased number of protests against Israel and their own leadership in past weeks. Activists there say they are now planning a new mass-protest against President Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled peace proposal.

UN Honors Israeli Doctors

In a rare moment that cut through international politics, a delegation of Israeli doctors was honored at a UN ceremony for their work saving thousands of Palestinian and other children by operating on their diseased hearts.

The Save a Child’s Heart organization is operated out of Holon, Israel and focuses on saving young lives in war-torn and developing regions, according to Ha’aretz.

They have operated on nearly 5,000 children in the last two decades, including more than 2,000 from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and three hundred from Iraq and Syria. The United Nations Population Fund awarded the group the 2018 UN Population award for their work.

Holocaust Art Presented in Israel

A new exhibit at the University of Haifa is presenting salvaged and restored works of art from French artists persecuted during the Holocaust.

Most of the artists died in the Holocaust, but their work now lives on in the collection that features 138 pieces. The exhibit’s creator told the Jerusalem Post that the collection had sat “untouched and unresearched” for many years until she and her students began research and restoration efforts for the collection two years ago.

The exhibit will be on display at the University of Haifa’s Hecht Museum until November 1.

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