Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Few More Facts, Please

Think Progress, to which I often link, apparently couldn't resist a pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist dig, even when commenting on a national calamity in a post intended to draw attention to environmental concerns. Noting "the solidarity shown by the Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, the United States, and others who have come to Israel’s aid in the face of climate disasters," the blog of the Center for American Progress maintained
In a demonstration of solidarity in the climate crisis, Palestinian firefighters were some of the first to help Israel fight the unprecedented wildfires in the divided nation. The fires are caused by record heat and drought, a predicted consequence of the long-term climate change in the region spurred by fossil fuel pollution. A team of 21 Palestinian firefighters from the Bethlehem civil defense team left the southern West Bank in four fire engines at 4 am Sunday, and “were received respectfully” by Israeli teams, Bethlehem Civil Defense Chief Ibrahim Ayish told the Jerusalem Post "After all, we’re dealing with a humanitarian issue which knows no borders."

Surely, the issue knows no borders and the international response was heartening, although hardly unprecedented. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained

In a massive wildfire in California a few years ago, the United States received assistance from eight countries; it neither hesitated nor was ashamed to request this assistance, including from countries from which we have made similar requests. In last summer's massive wildfire in Russia, Russia neither hesitated nor was ashamed to request assistance from Ukraine and from other countries.

Israel, which "is better known for sending its own rescue teams and medical personnel to other countries to help in their disaster-relief efforts," was left woefully unprepared for the deadly fire in the Carmel forest in the Galilee region. Partly as a result,

Dozens of Israeli guards trying to rescue prisoners threatened by the worst forest fire in the country's history died Thursday when their bus became trapped in the same inferno.

As the guards raced toward the prison holding mostly Palestinians, a lone tree fell across the road, blocking their path. With no way out, many of them were burned alive inside the vehicle. Others perished while trying to flee the flames fed by brush left tinder-dry by lack of rain.

When the smoke cleared, at least 36 were dead.

Israel, with a population of 7.4 million people, is smaller than Virginia. And at least 36 of its first responders have died. They died, reportedly, "racing toward (a) prison holding mostly Palestinians." Died trying to rescue Palestinians- incarcerated Palestinians, even.

Many on our side extol the Palestinians whenever possible, especially when our Middle Eastern ally can be excoriated. But the circumstances of this catastrophic loss of life cannot be omitted- even if it interferes with pursuit of an anti-Israel agenda.

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