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Open the Syrian border

The web is full of horrifying pictures of dead civilians in Syria, including dozens or even hundreds of dead children following an alleged chemical attack near Damascus. Watching them is simply unbearable.

It’s still unclear who is behind the attack and what weapon was used, and maybe it’s not that important at this point. Analysts are once again discussing Western military intervention in Syria, which still seems unlikely. But before asking the U.S. to send its bombers, there is one thing Israel could do in order to actually help save lives: opening the borders and allowing in a substantial number of Syrian refugees.

Not a handful of wounded who are sent back to their Syrian nightmare once their wounds are healed, but the many who need long-term refuge until fighting ends.

Israel is more prosperous and stable than Jordan or Lebanon, and each of those countries has already accepted hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Geopolitical circumstances will probably prevent Israel from taking a more active role in ending the war, but our country can still help save many lives. It’s not just the smart or honorable thing to do. It’s the only real human response to the massacre, and the moral call of our own history.

(Graphic images in video)

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Laurent Szyster

      Now, suppose that Israel welcomes hundreds of thousands of refugee from Syria. They won’t go back there anytime soon, they probably never will.

      What’s your plan for the day after ?

      Where will they be resettled ? Should they be granted israeli citizenship ? Or should Israel deny them civil rights, park them in camps along the syrian border for three generations, be armed to pursuit a war of attrition and feed them inept propaganda about reconquering Syria some day ?

      See where I’m going …

      PS: Also, rember this ?

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-rejects-israeli-offer-to-allow-refugees-from-syria-to-enter-west-bank-and-gaza/

      “Following a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Abbas said that he had appealed to the UN to intercede on behalf of Palestinian refugees living in Syria and demand that Israel allow them to enter the West Bank and Gaza.

      UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Abbas that Israel agreed to the request, on the condition that the refugees sign a document in which they forgo the “right of return” to areas within Israel. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment on the report.

      Abbas said he rejected that condition.”

      Sure it was disingenuous from Israel to put such condition … knowing perfectly well what the Palestinian leadership’s reaction would be.

      Because everybody knows who the “right of return” does not serve and never did: the refugee and their descendants.

      Reply to Comment
      • Doing the right thing sometimes means not thinking about the future. The scenarios you raise are possible. Sometimes evolution happens when you face the possible. I cannot push the proposal forward; I am not an Israeli. Nor can I conceive of the present Israeli leadership able to risk such courage. All I know is that there will too be costs for standing on the sidelines.

        Reply to Comment
        • Laurent Szyster

          For Israel the cost of standing on the sidelines of Syria’s civil war is zero.

          Because whatever happens over there the Arabs will find a way to blame it on the Jews anyways.

          Reply to Comment
          • Your first sentence has merit. Your second nullifies that through absurdity.

            The cost I was referring to was knowing you could have done something but did not. An internal cost, so silent you may not know it is there.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Sowhat.

      We all know that your wet dream is to flood Israel out of existence. It’s not going to happen.

      Reply to Comment
    3. XYZ

      Regarding the Palestinians in Syria who may wanter to enter the Palestinian territories, I will repeat what I have stated before, THE PALESTINIANS IN THE WEST BANK DON’T WANT THEM. It is merely convenient for Abbas to blame supposed Israeli conditions for rejecting their plea. These Palestinians are aliens as far as the West Bank population sees it and they would resent a massive influx of people who might end up staying, thus destabilizing the political, social and economic fabric of the West Bank. This is similar to the alienation between the West Bank and Gaza populations that exists and which is a major factor preventing political reunification between Gaza and the West Bank.

      Regarding Syrian refugees…Israel has NO OBLIGATION to take them in beyond whatever humanitarian medical services are being rendered.
      Remember…The people butchering each other in Syria, Iraq and now Egypt are all Arabs and Muslims who view each others as brothers and who love one another. With us Israelis/Zionists, on th other hand, they have a problem which leads me to wonder what would happen to us if we ever foolishly disarmed ourselves.

      Reply to Comment
    4. sh

      We have, unfortunately, been trained for 65 years to wall out rather than reach out to whatever is closest to home. So while we can envisage ourselves bombing Iran in response to the carnage in Syria, we can’t see how to offer shelter to those fleeing from it without imperilling the sacred demography. Ironically this is what we have most in common with the very neighbours we ward off at every turn and what distinguishes us most from the West we delude ourselves we belong to.

      I haven’t been able to look at any of the clips and must refrain from watching this one. Thanks to events preceding this one, my nausea cup overfloweth.

      Reply to Comment
      • XYZ

        Oh, we are not like the “humanitarian West”?! Really? Yesterday, Prof Eyal Susser stated that the US and EU have given Assad a CLEAR green light to continue to butcher his people. This includes NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER Pres. Obama. Just proves my point…the “progressives” both here in Israel and those in the US and Europe DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS! “We have interests in keeping Russia happy so we will let them keep feeding Assad’s killing machine but we’ll convince well-meaning people like Sh that we do believe in them by harping on the Palestinians”. Same with the Saudis and the killers on the rebel’s side whom they support.

        Reply to Comment
        • sh

          Of course he did. Eyal Zisser doesn’t care about Syrian refugees. He’s worried about Hezbollah supply lines and piqued that Obama’s red line is getting paler by the second, revealing for all to see his reluctance to involve his troops in any attack on Iran.

          The victims and refugees are not on the borders of the US or the EU they are on ours.

          Reply to Comment
          • XYZ

            Who is talking about Iran? What is the “moral” (in your eyes) West doing to stop the killing in Iran? Make it so there are no more refugees? You tell me.

            Reply to Comment
          • XYZ

            Obviously, I meant to ask what the West is doing to stop the killing in Syria.

            Reply to Comment
          • sh

            “Who is talking about Iran?”
            Zisser was. He’s been saying since it started. And you were talking about the US and the EU. Both you and your professor refuse point blank to talk about Syrians and us, who were the subject of the piece you’re commenting under.

            Many among us never knew their parents’ families because they were murdered using a chemical just like the one that ended the lives of these hundreds of Syrian children. They recall well what happens to people under evil regimes when there’s nowhere to run to, because they know and have felt the consequences on their skin. That’s the reality of it. And if a country like Israel, with its history and its current clout can’t help, then the civilized world (wherever that is) will have to get busy allocating areas of refuge for those fleeing such madness so that “never again” applies to the human race not just to the Jewish one.

            Reply to Comment
        • eduardo

          XYZ,you should know that the propaganda can be used as a strong arm to desconstruct the image of someone and Bashar is victim of this mainly when put him in the same level of cannibals and terrorists in Syria so to not give him moral before the public opinion.The answer I give to all doesn’t know him,your thought,actions,principles is that even your enemies recognize after two and half years of destruction he’s continuing to have support from the majority of people and growing each day.Think about that.
          By the way,try to expel strange armed from your house without damage someone or something and you’ll deserve an award.

          Reply to Comment
      • ayla

        beautiful, insightful comment, sh. and i, too, cannot watch.

        Reply to Comment
        • ayla

          strange, SH, I posted this in response to your above comment, about our training over 65 years, but I appreciate all your comments on this thread (as always).

          Reply to Comment
      • Benji

        “my nausea cup overfloweth”

        I have an idea: Go to the west to whom you always want to compare us to. They live in a much more peaceful neighbourhood so that will be of benefit to you too.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Joel

      And what about when the Syrian rebels want to go and visit their kin living in Israel?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Let the Birthright kids from abroad come by the hundreds to help set up communities in Israel for these refugees… Let them lend their privileged time and attention to some really unfortunate people… (a humane policy, and way, way better than “hasbara” too, if it comes from the heart).

      Reply to Comment
    7. XYZ

      I think this piece is a good opportunity to summarize the message we get from the 972 people” What this translates to in the 972 context is
      (1) The creation of Israel was a regrettable act, perhaps understandable in the context of the times (post-Holocaust) but now the source of too many problems.
      (2) It is not good for the Jews to have self-determination
      (3) Jews should lead the way to merging into some sort of “univesalist, anti-particularist, citizen-of-the-world” identity
      (4) In order to correct this unfortunatey mistake that Zionism created, it is necessary to somehow get Israel, as we know it to disappear.
      (5) This is done by pushing for an “agreement” with the Palestinian, even if it doesn’t bring peace, because it is a step in the direction of eradicating Zionsim, which is a much more important goal than peace and security for both Jews and Arabs
      (6) IN addition, it is good to flood the country with non-Jews so that the Jewish part of the population gets diluted, which will hopefully accelarate assimilation, which will solve the “Jewish problem” once and for all.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        What you’re getting from 972 people as I understand it is that toning down belligerence could be more effective than revving it up – certainly it’s never been tried (spare us a croon of the toon about handing over Gaza to the Gazans on a plate, etc., we know it by heart) and doesn’t look to be on the cards anytime soon. Also infinite regret that what was done to us has not served to attenuate our brutal treatment of the Palestinians for the 65 years we’ve been a state, or influenced our attitude to our neighbours as people. Still, true to my humanism (!) I can’t help thinking that the fact you took such trouble to compose your half-dozen favourite misperceptions about +972 might even betray a deep affection for it.

        Reply to Comment
    8. The Trespasser

      These videos appear to be fake.

      1 – No decontamination teams are visible anywhere, yet doctors who are in direct contact with alleged victims are not affected.

      2 – “Convulsions” are not natural.

      3 – http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8da_1377112216

      etc., etc.

      Reply to Comment
    9. eduardo

      XYZ,you should know that the propaganda is a strong arm to desconstruct the image of someone and Bashar is victim of this mainly when put him in the same level of cannibals in Syria so to not give moral before the public opinion.The answer I give to all doesn’t know him,your thought,actions,principles is that your enemies recognize after two and half years of destruction he’s continuing to have support from the majority of people and growing.Think about that!

      Reply to Comment
    10. eduardo

      XYZ,”What the West is doing to stop the killing in Syria”.This is a good question and I think you’ll not like my answer but the truth must be told somehow and I’ll try in some words.
      Many people knows well that Qatar,Saudi Arabya and Turkey is in the front line of this conflit against Syria and they would NEVER do that without a big power like USA to push them .In your turn the politcs of USA in the Middle East is always linked with interests of Israel so as “the time is the master of reason” the apparent neutrality of Israel became false when:
      1-Attacked 3 times Syria so to open other front against him.(not to destroy weapon to Hezbollah what was said)
      2-They are treating wounded terrorist and sending them back to Syria.(For them the frontier are open a long time)
      3-Israel sold recently US$50 million in armament to Saudi Arabia to be utilized by terrorists.(Transmitted by an Israeli radio)
      4-The terrorists are having all kind of logistic helping from Israel,USA and England.(confirmed in many occasions by the own terorists).
      5-And the last but not less recently Israeli officials declared that they’ll not allow the Syrian army to win this battle.
      After you think seriously about that I think you should ask your question to leaders of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    11. The Trespasser

      Cos said unknown chemical materials were found during the raids and sent away for investigation. He denied media reports that a small amount of the nerve agent sarin had been uncovered.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/30/us-syria-crisis-turkey-idUSBRE94T0YO20130530

      On May 5, the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria also said it found testimony from victims and medical staff that showed foreign-backed militants had used the nerve agent in Syria.
      http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/05/31/306366/turkey-seizes-sarin-near-syria-border/

      Open. Borders. Right.

      Reply to Comment
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