Despite tensions, Israel offers aid to Lebanon in wake of disaster

August 5, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel has officially offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon in wake of the massive explosion that wreaked havoc in the centre of the city, despite the tensions between the two countries.

Photo: Twitter

Scores were killed and thousands were injured in Beirut after a large quantity of explosive Ammonium Nitrate that was stocked in a depot at the port combusted.

An initial inquiry shows that the substance was confiscated from a ship years ago. It had supposedly been neutralized but was not, apparently a case of criminal negligence.

Following the explosion in Beirut, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, on behalf of the State of Israel, offered the Lebanese government via international intermediaries medical and humanitarian aid, as well as immediate emergency assistance.

The offer was reportedly conveyed through UNIFIL and France.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat to speak with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov in order to clarify how Israel can further assist Lebanon.

The Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv stated that its Center for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Medicine contacted the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Health and offered medical assistance as needed to the victims of the disaster in Lebanon.

The centre has extensive experience in leading humanitarian missions around the world and dealing with disaster areas.

Prof. Yitzhak Kreis, director of the medical centre, said that “it is our duty to help everyone who is in need of our help, and especially our neighbours. We are prepared and ready for any task that is assigned to us.”

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon have been high in recent days following Hezbollah’s threat to attack Israel.

However, IDF’s Spokesman in Arabic Avichay Adraee stated that Israel has extensive experience in dealing with disaster areas and “has demonstrated this through numerous humanitarian relief missions around the world in recent years.”

“It is time to put all conflicts aside,” he underscored.

President Reuven Rivlin said on Twitter that “we share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer our aid at this difficult time.”

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