Yesterday, we posted about a Guardian article by Kareem Shaheen (Dozens of fleeing Syrians turned away from Israeli border, July 17th) which included the extremely misleading claim that only “on occasion” has Israel treated Syrian civilians and fighters “with life-threatening injuries” in its hospitals.
We noted, in our post and in a Tweet to the journalist, that thousands of injured Syrians have been treated by Israel since 2013 (including 600 children), and not merely those with life threatening wounds – in addition to the other forms of humanitarian aid (such as food and fuel) supplied to displaced Syrians.
Today, we noticed that the article had been amended (without an addendum), and now includes figures from the source we cited in our tweet.
(Note: New figures released in June 2018 show that the number of Syrians treated by Israel since 2013 is now over 4,800)
As we observed in our original post, these figures are important as they represent evidence of a large-scale humanitarian effort that, recent reports suggest, may be paying dividends in terms of Syrian perceptions of Israel.
As one 27-year-old Syrian quoted recently by the Independent, in a story about Israel’s assistance to Syrian war victims, put it:
“It’s strange for us that Israel is more humanitarian than our Arab brothers. I once even heard people saying they hope that Israel would include this area in the Golan.”
We’re not talking about a titanic shift yet, but such gestures of goodwill – on top of a political realignment based on shared Sunni Arab and Israeli fears of Iranian aggression – do appear to have the potential to start winning over hearts and minds in the Middle East.