Palestinian Firefighters Come to Israel's Aid

Published: December 5th 2010
in News » Israel

Forest fires

Early Sunday morning, four fire trucks manned by 21 Palestinian firefighters began a five-hour drive to the Carmel mountains, Jerusalem Post reported.


The Bethlehem civil defense team spent five hours driving through Israel before meeting up with Israeli and international firefighters to face the inferno that has destroyed over 12,000 acres of land, and killed at least 41 people since Thursday.


The Palestinian fire trucks are more advanced than Israel's, Channel 10 News reported. The trucks were reportedly a gift from the European Union, which contributed millions of dollars to establish a Palestinian firefighting force.


Bethlehem Civil Defense Chief Ibrahim Ayish told Palestinian news agency Ma'an that it was good to work alongside the Israeli teams, because they "know the area very well."


"We were received respectfully," said Ayish. "After all, we're dealing with a humanitarian issue which knows no borders."


"We hope that we will have a major role in fighting the fire and in the humanitarian effort on Mount Carmel," a Palestinian firefighter told Channel 10. "It's, like, peace."


Also on Sunday, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told Reuters that the fires burning through northern Israel are God's way of punishing the Israelis.


"These are plagues from God," said Haniyeh in a recorded Reuters interview from Gaza.  "Allah is punishing them [the Israelis] from a place they did not expect it."


Also coming to Israel’s aid was Turkey who sent firefighting planes to the region, in a reminder that the two countries have, in fact, been allies for years.

Related articles: (fire, Carmel, Haifa, Hamas, fire trucks, aid, humanitarian)

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