IDF gives aid to Syr­i­ans flee­ing war zone

Care pack­ages were pre­pared by res­i­dents of Is­rael’s Golan Re­gional Coun­cil

Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By ANNA AHRONHEIM

The IDF on Tues­day trans­fered aid and care pack­ages do­nated by Is­raeli res­i­dents of the Golan Heights to Syr­i­ans dis­placed by fight­ing on the other side of bor­der, the IDF Spokesper­son’s Unit an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

The trans­fer of the pack­ages, which was done un­der Op­er­a­tion Good Neigh­bor, was car­ried out by the Bashan Divi­sion, which trans­ferred them in two mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions to the other side of the fence for Syr­i­ans in camps in the north­ern and south­ern Syr­ian Golan Heights.

The IDF has been pro­vid­ing life­sav­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance to Syr­i­ans on the Golan Heights – all while main­tain­ing the prin­ci­ple of non­in­volve­ment in the Syr­ian civil war – as part of Op­er­a­tion Good Neigh­bor launched in June 2016.

Over the past week, hun­dreds of care

pack­ages were do­nated from com­mu­ni­ties in the Golan Re­gional Coun­cil. The aid in­cluded per­sonal gift bags con­tain­ing toys, crayons, games, can­dies and notes from Is­raeli chil­dren liv­ing on the Golan.

“For six years, a cruel war that has claimed the lives of more than 500,000 peo­ple has been tak­ing place in Syria, and the world re­mains quiet in the face of this hor­ror. We, the res­i­dents of the Golan, look right over the fence and see the peo­ple flee­ing from the killing fields to­gether with their chil­dren, and cling­ing to the fence with Is­rael,” said Eli Malka, the head of the Golan Re­gional Coun­cil, who ini­ti­ated the col­lec­tion.

“We feel the mo­ral obli­ga­tion, in ac­cor­dance with our val­ues, to send hu­man­i­tar­ian aid and, as much as is pos­si­ble, to build a re­la­tion­ship of hu­man­ity with those who have al­ways been our neigh­bors on the other side of the fence. The res­i­dents of the Golan have come to­gether whole­heart­edly to raise and col­lect sup­plies, and make per­sonal gift bags for the Syr­ian chil­dren, to give them a mo­ment of happiness in a great chaos,” he added.

The Syr­ian Army, backed by Rus­sian air strikes, has been pum­mel­ing the south­west­ern prov­inces of Deraa and Quneitra in an of­fen­sive aimed at re­cap­tur­ing the strate­gic rebel-held ar­eas bor­der­ing Jor­dan and the Golan Heights. In re­cent days, rebels in Deraa handed over a swath of ter­ri­tory along the bor­der with Jor­dan to Da­m­as­cus.

The United Na­tions fears that be­tween 285,000 and 325,000 in­ter­nally dis­placed Syr­i­ans have fled since the be­gin­ning of the cur­rent of­fen­sive. Some 189,000 have headed to­ward the bor­der with Is­rael.

Ac­cord­ing to the IDF, the mil­i­tary has re­cently car­ried out 30 des­ig­nated aid op­er­a­tions for Syr­i­ans dis­placed by fight­ing on the Golan Heights, trans­fer­ring more than 130 tons of food, 12.5 tons of baby food, 75,700 liters of fuel to op­er­ate gen­er­a­tors, 20 med­i­cal equip­ment units, 77 tons of cloth­ing, 556 tents and 30 shadow nets.

Call­ing the op­er­a­tion “unique and ex­cit­ing,” Lt.-Col. “E.,” the com­man­der of Op­er­a­tion Good Neigh­bor, stated that those liv­ing on the Syr­ian Golan Heights have un­der­stood that Is­rael is not a coun­try to fear.

“The Bashan Divi­sion is re­spon­si­ble for pre­serv­ing the se­cu­rity of the res­i­dents of the State of Is­rael, and of the Golan Heights in par­tic­u­lar, and through the Good Neigh­bor com­mand it car­ries out the mis­sion of de­fend­ing them, in part­ner­ship with the cit­i­zens [of the area]. All of this was done for our neigh­bors on the other side of the fence, who have been ed­u­cated to hate Is­rael and ev­ery­thing re­lated to it, and in re­cent years have un­der­stood that the only coun­try that has aided them was the same one they feared.” •

(IDF Spokesper­son’s Unit)

AID AND CARE pack­ages do­nated by res­i­dents of the Golan Heights are de­liv­ered yes­ter­day to Syr­i­ans dis­placed by fight­ing on the other side of bor­der.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel

© PressReader. All rights reserved.