Israeli food products with Hebrew labeling have been delivered to a displaced persons camp near the rebel-controlled Syrian city of Quneitra. The local government council said that it “severely condemns the distribution of aid baskets coming from the enemy Israel.”
The food was distributed via Jordan, the Syrian news website Zaman al-Wasl reported Thursday, adding that this was not the first time this had occurred. The extreme need for aid in the area meant that many people who would otherwise refuse to use Israeli products chose to accept it.
The local government council said that it “severely condemns the distribution of aid baskets coming from the enemy Israel and which traitorous agents are distributing on innocent civilians and which are clearly written on in Hebrew….We will not remain silent about this act of cowardliness and we will present all those involved in this traitorous act to the courthouse.” The council added that those who brought in the Israeli food would be “held accountable,” Zaman al-Wasl reported.
Elsewhere in Syria, United Nations aid workers on Friday were allowed by the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to deliver food to the besieged city of Daraya for the first time in four years. The situation had led to a great deal of international criticism towards Assad, for not allowing aid to civilians, and towards the UN, for not acting more forcefully to deliver aid quicker. Medicine was delivered to Daraya last week for the first time in years after months of protracted negotiations. The good news was short-lived, however, as later in the day the Syrian Air Force dropped at least 28 barrel bombs on Daraya, Al-Jazeerareported.
Israel has provided medical treatment to more than 2,000 Syrians who have been injured during the five-plus years of the Syrian Civil War. The aid prompted Syrian refugee Aboud Dandachi to create a website called Thank You Am Israel to thank Israelis and Jews for all they have been doing for Syrians. “Now, Syrians as a people are starting to learn who their true friends are,” Dandachi wrote in Tablet Magazine in March.
No one could have faulted the Jewish people if they had taken a strictly hands-off attitude to the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. And yet from the earliest days of the conflict, Israeli medical teams have been offering lifesaving medical assistance to wounded Syrians. Israelis have gone into Jordan to provide aid to Syrian refugees. Tireless IsraAID volunteers are on the ground in the Balkans, ready to receive and assist the massive numbers of refugees fleeing the wars in the Middle East. And despite some understandable ambivalence on the part of many in the Jewish diaspora, many Canadian Jewish congregations have gone through an enormous amount of effort to sponsor Syrian refugees for resettlement.