The remarkable Israeli relief efforts in Haiti have attracted predictable, offensive comments that treat the whole initiative as a p.r. stunt. Equally offensive are the triumphant voices that catalogue Israeli deeds and then say, ‘Where are the Arabs in Haiti? You don’t see the Arabs helping.” Well, James Zogby begs to differ and has a good, long answer on his blog, which is excerpted below. The Middle East has too many problems as it is. Why compound them with ridiculous generalizations that imply that Arabs are somehow devoid of generosity?
I realize that, in posting this, I’ll be accused of being a shill for “Arab propaganda.” Who cares?
Based on information available to date, Algeria granted $1 million in emergency humanitarian aid. Bahrain sent a disaster relief team to provide aid, pledged $1 million in relief, and the Bahrain Red Crescent Society appealed for donations for Haiti. Egypt allocated medical supplies and personnel. Jordan established a 12-bed military hospital in Port-au-Prince, and personnel are also feeding children who enter; dispatched two planes carrying a mobile field hospital, rescue team, doctors and six tons of aid supplies that include food, medicine and clothing. Kuwait sent 100 tons of food, medical supplies, tents and blankets and donated $1 million, delivered through the country’s Red Crescent Society.
Lebanon airlifted 25 tons of tents, 3 tons of medicine, vaccines and other supplies, and sent aid workers to help in relief efforts. Libya sent a shipment of relief supplies including medicine. Morocco sent $1 million worth of medical and pharmaceutical supplies. In Palestine, the Council of Ministers convened in the West Bank and donated humanitarian aid, and in Gaza, one of the most impoverished populations on the planet, individuals donated money, food and clothing to the Red Cross. Qatar mobilized a 26-person rescue team of soldiers, police and medical professionals, and sent 50 tons of aid. Saudi Arabia donated $50 million, which will be directed through the United Nations. Syria airlifted 30 tons of humanitarian aid. Tunisia allocated $1 million to the United Nations Emergency Fund that was created for Haiti relief. The United Arab Emirates contributed over $2.6 million; three UAE charities donated more than 200 tons of medical equipment, tents and blankets, food and drinking water.