Friday, January 22, 2010

Israel's Extraordinary Humanitarian Efforts in Haiti and Those Who Still Seek to Demonize Her

Bashing Israel for saving Haitians
Bradley Burston
I'd like to say a word of honor and thanks and, yes, pride for the Israelis, paramedics, physicians, nurses, midwives, and medical imaging technicians, who went to Haiti to save lives. That's it. I believe that they are people, individuals, who went there to save limbs from gangrene and amputation, stanch internal bleeding, relieve crushing pain. To deliver babies. To risk their lives, using jackhammers and hydraulics and their hands to make crawl spaces under tons of concrete and silt, going in themselves to pull children and adults to safety. For all the time that they've been working, however, people far away, snug in the comfort of their laptops, have been furiously busy as well, people who are enraged to the boiling point by news reports of the Israeli rescue mission. People who see it as their mission to tell the world exactly what's wrong with all of this. Over the past week, the work of the Israeli medical team has become a kind of Rorschach for how people view Israel and Israelis. Most of the comment, it must be said, is supportive. Even on the part of those who cast the humanitarian misery in Gaza in contrast. But for a shocking number of others, the bottom line is simple: Israel, and Israelis, can do no right.

At the Israeli Army Hospital in Haiti - Jay Newton-Small
The Israeli hospital is the paramount medical center operating in Haiti in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake. It receives the cases that other hospitals find difficult and cannot manage. Upon entry, patients are photographed, and then they and their electronic records are digitally tracked around the tent complex with bar-coded bracelets. 90% of those in Israeli hands have complex crushed limbs and bones - crush syndrome. But given the severity of the injuries and the conditions in apocalyptic Port-au-Prince, the hospital has had an amazing success rate: of the more than 400 people treated by Jan. 19, only eight had died. (TIME)

Israel's Medical Operation in Haiti - Ella Perlis
The Israeli-run field hospital has operating rooms, an intensive care unit, a pediatric ward, and even a pharmacy. The technology is as sophisticated as most Western hospitals: it has x-ray equipment, respirators, monitors, and incubators that have sustained at least two premature babies. Captain Barak Raz of the Israel Defense Forces told me about Israel's operation in Haiti. Raz: The quake hit late at night Israeli time, and by early morning the assessment crew was in the air. That crew advised the government and the army on what was needed. Israel has been doing this for a while with relief missions in Kenya in 2002, El Salvador and India in 2001, and even aiding Rwandan refugees in Zaire in '94. (CNN)

A Nation of Caregivers - Frida Ghitis
Israelis seem determined to do all they can to help the inhabitants of a frail nation thousands of miles away. Within moments of the quake, Israelis were on their way to Haiti, as they have in countless other disasters around the world. Watching the Israeli response - one of the fastest, most effective of any country on Earth - it is striking to see the enormous gap between the grotesque image of Israel woven by its enemies and the reality of the country's character. Nobody challenges Israel more energetically than Israelis. The country engages in anguished introspection. Its armed forces enlist ethicists and philosophers. Its political, social and religious leaders constantly discuss the ethically appropriate response to enemies who operate inside a baffling framework of morality - encouraging their supporters to blow themselves up among civilians and promoting an ideology that openly declares their intention to destroy Israel.
(Miami Herald)

13 comments:

Slave to my Bulldog said...

David:

Great to see you writing about this; I've been blogging about some of the same things since the IDF & ZAKA units first deployed to Port-au-Prince.

There's a urgent case the IDF hospital is trying to treat now, a 4 year old boy with AML, stage 5. Is there anyone at Seattle Children's who can maybe assist? Please take a look at my blog post and the IDFinHaiti website for more information.

Kol tuv and Shabbat Shalom,
Jonathan

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