It's Not All Hatred and Terror

It's Not All Hatred and Terror

© David Burton 2017


     The news that appears in papers and magazines, on TV, and on the radio concerning Israel, the Palestinians, the hostile Arab nations that Israel faces and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas would give the impression that there is nothing except hatred and terror in that region of the world. While it is undeniably true that a considerable amount of hatred and terror is directed at the one true democratic and tolerant nation in the region, there is another aspect of relations in the region that is totally underreported. What appears all too infrequently in the media are the reports of peaceful interaction between Palestinians, Arabs and Israel. As the saying goes, “Bad news sells, good news doesn’t”. Presented below are some of the stories that never make the news, or, if they do, receive scant attention. There are still people who believe in tolerance and humanity – our hope is that these “Menshen” will overcome and replace the Hamans, Hitlers and bin Ladens who, unfortunately make the headlines while spreading their bigoted poison,

A Muslim EMS Volunteer with United Hatzalah

     On July 14, 2017, “Nedal Sader, a Muslim EMS volunteer with United Hatzalah who lives near the Temple Mount complex, was the first responder to arrive at the scene of the Friday morning . . . terror attack. Under fire from terrorists, he risked life and limb to help those in need of medical aid.
      - - -
     “Sader, one of 300 Muslim volunteers with United Hatzalah, lives in a building that borders the wall supporting the Temple Mount. . .
      - - -
     “{Arriving at the scene of the shooting,} Sader waited for about a minute until the gunshots died down and then crossed over to {an} injured officer. When he arrived he saw there was nothing he could do for the man. Sader then saw a group of men sprawled on the floor not far away. He was about to begin treating one of them when an officer told him to back away as the men were terrorists and were not yet secured. The officer then told Sader to enter the gateway of the Al-Aqsa mosque where another officer needed assistance. Sader headed over and began to perform CPR on an unconscious officer suffering from a gunshot wound.”
     “ ‘As I was performing CPR,’ said Sader, ‘the terrorist I had been about to treat got up and tried to stab some police officers. The officers promptly shot him.’
     Sader added, ‘I was joined by other United Hatzalah volunteers, members of the Red Crescent, the Israeli ambulance service, and police officers who rushed to the site. We performed CPR on the officer for about 15 minutes before he was evacuated by ambulance teams.’
      - - -
     “Sader is a truly dedicated volunteer who drops whatever he is doing in order to save the lives of others. A practicing Muslim, husband, and father of five, he works in the Orthodox city of Beitar Illit in Judea as a nurse practitioner in charge of the Shabbat shift. Respectful of the religious views of others, he refrains from smoking and talking on his cell phone while on shift in Beitar in order to avoid offending residents of the city.
     “ ‘The Temple Mount is a place of prayer and worship and it should be respected,’ he said. ‘It is not the place for violence and I am saddened that this act of violence took place there.’
     “Sader said he’s constantly asked why he works for an Israeli EMS organization. ‘They say I am a father of five and that I already work for the community to help others. So why do I volunteer? I tell them there is no feeling like the feeling you get when you help another person. Saving a life is the highest calling in both Islam and Judaism. Both religions believe that if you save a life you have saved an entire world.’
     “ ‘How can I not volunteer? It is the most important calling and I am very happy that United Hatzalah gave me the opportunity to be a part of this life-saving revolution taking place in Israel.’ ” (Ref. 1)

The Peres Peace Center

     In February of 2017, my wife and I had the opportunity of visiting the Peres Peace Center, located at the southernmost tip of Jaffa. The Center was founded in 1996 by Shimon Peres. The mission statement of the Center says: “We are a non-profit, non-political, non-governmental organization focused on promoting lasting peace and advancement in the Middle East by fostering tolerance, economic & technological development, innovation, cooperation & well-being, all in the spirit of President Peres’ vision.”

     Shimon Peres served Israel in numerous capacities, listed here in chronological order: a member of the Labor-Zionist youth movement; a shepard on a kibbutz; a member of the Haganah (the Jewish paramilitary organization during the British Mandate period); head of naval services; Director General of the Ministry of Defense; established Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona; member of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament); Deputy Minister of Defense; Minister of Absorption; Minister of Transport and Communications; Minister of Defense; acting Prime Minister; Prime Minister; Minister of Foreign Affairs; Vice Premier and Minister of Finance; Minister of Regional Cooperation; Minister for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee; President of the State of Israel. Shimon Peres died at age 93, on 28 September 2016.

     In 1996 Peres invested his efforts in creating and establishing the Peres Center for Peace, thereby fulfilling his vision of regional cooperation.

     The Peres Center for Peace has been conducting joint programs with Arabs and Palestinians in the areas of medicine, business, and culture, that bring these parties together to eliminate the distrust and barriers that have been historically keeping them apart. These programs have been accomplishing much to demonstrate that these peoples are basically more alike than different. The programs also produce concrete achievements, like training Palestinian doctors in Israeli medical institutions, providing advanced medical services to Palestinians and Arabs that would otherwise be unavailable, facilitating the establishment of viable Arab and Palestinian businesses and reducing or eliminating the red tape and bureaucracy associated with Israel’s regulation of these businesses.

Israeli Hospital Helps Deaf Palestinian Children Hear

     “Sixteen deaf Palestinian children were able to hear for the first time after undergoing a procedure at an Israeli hospital to repair their hearing . . .
     “The operations to repair the children’s hearing, known as cochlear implant surgery, were performed by doctors at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem . . .
      - - -
     “Dr. Michal Kaufmann, who performed the surgeries, {said} that being able to perform the operations was quite difficult due to the ‘logistical challenge[s].’
     “ ‘Many authorizations were required from the Defense Ministry,’ she said, adding that ‘some of the children arrived without a medical record and required extensive tests at Hadassah alongside emotional and psychological treatment.’
      - - -
     The surgeries were carried out as part of a program by the Peres Peace Center, founded by the late Israeli political leader Shimon Peres, for Palestinian children from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
     “Kaufmann described the Peres Center for Peace program as ‘an amazing project,’ as it ‘gives these children the opportunity to step out of their world of silence and live their lives normally and fully.’ “(Ref. 2)

Israeli Hospital Israel Helps Palestinian Children

     “Despite the Israeli-Arab conflict, a Palestinian newspaper has recognized how Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center has helped the Palestinian people.
      - - -
     “. . . {The} Hospital director . . . said: ‘We relate to patients without regard to nationality and religion. We treat Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other nationalities without bias, and 30% of the patients who are children are Palestinians.‘ He went on to say: ‘We’ve begun cooperating with the Palestinians. We now train teams of physicians from the hospital in Beit Jala in the southern West Bank, to treat cancer among children. We have about 60 Palestinian medical interns and specialist physicians who will be returning to the Palestinian Authority areas to carry out their work.’
     “Hadassah Hospital has done much to help the Palestinian people and Arabs in general. A Muslim Israeli Arab is presently in charge of emergency medicine at Hadassah Hospital. The liver unit at Hadassah Hospital is also headed by an Israeli Arab, who managed to uncover the gene linked to liver disease. Hadassah Hospital has been a place where Arab doctors have been able to thrive professionally and work towards saving lives, both of Israelis and of Palestinians.
     “Aside from offering many Arabs jobs, Israel’s medical establishment has always worked to save Palestinian lives with the same vigor that they save Israeli lives. In fact, a 2012 report from the World Health Organization found that Israel approved 91.5 percent of all Palestinian applications to receive medical care within the State of Israel. Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli organization, has also saved the lives of 3,000 children, of who half were hailing from the Palestinian Authority. Additionally, an Israeli hospital has reportedly been taking care of a disabled Gazan baby after he was abandoned both by his parents and the Palestinian Authority, who stopped funding his medical treatment.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 3)

Israeli Hospital Helps Palestinian Patients

     “The bedroom of {two} Palestinian siblings looks like a hospital ward, filled with beeping machines, monitors, solution bags and sterilizing fluids.
     “This is where the Gaza teenagers spend 12 hours a day connected to dialysis machines. These contraptions -- and their hopes for a better life -- come from a surprising source: an Israeli hospital.
     “Israel considers the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to be a hostile entity, and it has maintained a blockade over the seaside territory -- and fought three wars -- since the Islamic militant group seized power in 2007. At the same time, it also allows thousands of Gazans to travel each year to hospitals in Israel. [Emphasis mine] This awkward arrangement, which sometimes includes security interrogations, highlights how after years of hostility, the fates of Israel and Gaza are deeply intertwined.
     The {Gaza} siblings . . . have been regular guests at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa since July 2012.
     “The children were initially treated in hospitals in Gaza, Egypt and Syria before receiving a medical referral to Rambam. . .
     “Since then, doctors said a special treatment called automated peritoneal dialysis was the only way to keep the children alive, pending a kidney transplant. Without any machines or technicians in Gaza, Rambam worked with Palestinian officials to get the equipment installed at the family's home and trained their mother how to operate the machines.
      - - -
     “. . . the hospital makes sure that solutions and medical supplies are delivered to the family on a regular basis.
     “Earlier . . . the . . . family returned to Israel with their 40-year-old aunt . . . who {was} donating a kidney to her nephew . . .
      - - -
     “The Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, Cogat, said it granted roughly 27,000 medical permits for Gazans to travel to care in Israel, Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank and east Jerusalem or in neighboring Jordan. That number includes patients and relatives allowed to join them.
      - - -
     “. . . a World Health Organization report said 3,840 Gazans were treated in Israel in 2013 . . . The most popular reasons for care are cancer treatments, ophthalmology and pediatric care.
     “The fact that Israel grants any permits is somewhat surprising given the years of hostilities with Hamas, an Islamic group sworn to Israel's destruction. Israel has no direct contact with Hamas and coordinates all movement through the rival Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
     “. . . granting access to Israeli hospitals was ‘fundamentally’ a humanitarian matter. ‘This is an ongoing policy. That has been the policy for decades,’ . . . Israel even treated a daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh . . .”(Ref. 4)

Israel Helps Gaza Farmers to Export to Europe

     When we hear about Gaza and Israel, we immediately think about war, rockets, fighting, and terror tunnels. However, it is not always only the bad that takes place. Sometimes, something good gets accomplished.

     Even during the bad times, “Israel . . . continued a program to help Gaza farmers improve their crops . . . The program aims to help farmers keep their foothold in the European market, and is part of a series of steps aimed at improving Gaza's economy.
     “IDF officials were involved in {an} attempt to improve Gaza produce, {at} a meeting between an expert on strawberry farming and local exporters.
     “The expert went through the entire production process, with a focus on the proper use of fertilizer and pesticides. Care for the strawberries after the harvest was also stressed, because . . . ‘this is a particularly sensitive product with a fragile shelf life.’
     “. . . Israel assisted farmers in delivering their produce to the European market, but some of the exports did not meet importers' approval.
     “ ‘We want to help the Palestinian farmers to grow their crops correctly, and use pesticides correctly, so that next year the produce will be of a higher quality, and quantity,’ said {the} head of the IDF coordination department's Gaza economy branch. The goal, ‘is to create a situation in which the exports to Europe will grow, and will create more profit and Palestinian economic growth in Gaza.’ (Ref. 5)

     Another instance of Israel-Gaza cooperation in the area of agriculture occurred when “the Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza announced . . . that Israel {would} be expanding its agricultural assistance to farmers in the Strip by giving approval for an additional phase in an export project headed by the Dutch government.
     “. . . based on a decision by the Ministerial Committee on Security to expand economic activity in Gaza and to expand exports from the Gaza Strip, an export of cherry tomatoes {was to begin} from the Gaza Strip. The tomatoes {were} be taken through the Kerem Shalom crossing to markets in Europe.
      - - -
     “. . . Israel attaches great importance to the international community's involvement in implementing policies towards the members of the civilian population in Gaza who are not involved in terrorism against Israel, and noted that Israel will continue to implement economic projects in the Gaza Strip. “(Ref. 6)

     In still one more example of Israel providing aid to the farmers in Gaza, “Around 65 Gazan farmers and 200 Palestinians from Judea and Samaria attended an agricultural conference in Tel Aviv. The farmers arrived at the conference from Gaza with the help of the Israeli Defence Forces who facilitated their transportation. This visit by Gazan farmers is the third of its kind and is also the first conference they have visited with an international market.
     The Gaza Coordinating and Liaison Administration organized the event with the IDF to support agricultural cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as to market Palestinian agriculture abroad and within Israel. . .
     “ We want to sell in Israel,. said {the} chairman of the Beit Lahiya Cooperative in Gaza. ‘The market in Israel is a good market. All the time, we and Israel are in contact. We are neighbors.’ . . . ‘We hope that Israel will open its markets – we can import from them and then they can receive exports from us – in order to build a good relationship between the Palestinian and the Israeli people. As you see from our visit here, we are friends. We are not political people; we are economic people.’ There is presently $450 million in trade between Israel and Gaza.
     “… ‘Agriculture knows no borders. If things are calm on the security front, there is no reason not to boost agricultural and economic ties.’ Israel used to be Gaza’s best and biggest market. More than one Gazan farmer has stated that they prefer to trade with Israel over Egypt, claiming that they trust Israeli facilities more than Egyptian ones. One Gazan farmer claimed, ‘We were able to do good business here. We make a living and create jobs. And when the economy is good, people are happy and there are no political problems.’ “ (Ref. 7)

Israelis and Palestinians Agree to Water-Sharing Plan

     In mid-July of 2017, “Israeli and Palestinian officials said . . . they had agreed to a water-sharing plan to help Palestinian communities suffering chronic shortages, a goal included in a broader 2013 deal that involves Jordan.
     “The water agreement was crucial for residents of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip . . .
     " ‘This will reduce the suffering of the Palestinian people, which has been worsened by the beginning of summer and the crises that they are living through," said {the} head of the Palestinian Water Authority.
     “The agreement . . . is part of a broader water sharing deal that includes Jordan. The plan envisioned drawing water from the Red Sea to a new desalination plant in the Jordanian port of Aqaba and then moving some of the fresh water to the neighboring Israeli city of Eilat. In return, Israel would boost {water supplies} to Jordan’s north from the Sea of Galilee. The plans also call for sending brine from the Aqaba plant through a pipeline to help alleviate the evaporation of the Dead Sea.
     “The Israeli-Palestinian component . . . calls for Israel to sell more water — up to 8.7 billion gallons annually — at a reduced rate to the Palestinian territories, about two-thirds to the West Bank and the rest to the Gaza Strip. The shortages are so acute that most of the groundwater is not fit for drinking and the additional water is considered a fraction of what is needed. The deal will double Israel’s supply to Gaza and boost the amount to the West Bank by a third.
      - - -
     “The water agreement comes as the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated in recent days, where a shortage of power has caused daylong outages amid a summer heat wave.
     “The crisis began last month when Israel, complying with the Palestinian Authority’s decision to cut funding for electricity in the coastal strip controlled by the rival Hamas faction, cut its supply to the strip almost in half. Supply is about one-fifth of demand, and residents are getting about three hours of power followed by 24-hour breaks. Power lines to Gaza from Egypt, meanwhile, have not supplied electricity since last week.
      - - -
     “The boosted water supply to Gaza from Thursday’s water deal will ease the risk of a cholera and typhoid outbreak . . . (Ref. 8) The water problem in Gaza has been the result of Hamas’ long-standing refusal to address the issue. Instead, it has diverted funds to build terror tunnels and to pursue its sporadic missile attacks on Israel. Hamas has allowed drilling for water in Gaza to contaminate the ground water supply and to pollute the sea waters off Gaza’s shores. Similarly, it has refused to adequately fund Gaza’s electrical power needs, critical for pumping and purifying potable water.

Palestinians Help Put Out Israeli Wildfires

     In late 2016, “Israel . . . accepted an offer of help from the Palestinian authorities to tackle the wildfires that . . . engulfed large areas of central and northern parts of the country.
     “The crisis . . . forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes as flames . . . swept into the country’s third largest city of Haifa.
     “Four Palestinian firefighting teams {joined} the effort to combat the fires.
      - - -
     “Russia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Croatia and Cyprus {were} all . . . helping fight the blaze, while America {sent} a Boeing 747 ‘Supertanker’ firefighting plane.
      - - -
     “The flames {were} fanned by strong winds during an exceptionally dry period.
     At least 130 people {were} injured as the fires . . . spread, mostly from smoke inhalation.” (Ref. 9)

Israel Joins with Arab Countries in Military Exercise

     In previous years, military pilots from Arab countries would not fly together with Israeli pilots during military exercises. This year, as well as last year, was different. “The Israel Air Force along with pilots from the United Arab Emirates and a number of other countries began a joint drill in Greece {in March of 2017}, marking the second time crews from the two countries have flown side by side.
      - - -
     Israel maintains broad cooperation with the Greek air force and has participated in several military exercises of air, sea, and ground forces with the Mediterranean country, especially following the downgrading of ties with Greece’s adversary, Turkey.
      - - -
     “The close ties between Israel, Greece and Cyprus are based on a number of shared strategic interests. While all have shared economic interests, such as the ambitious project to build an undersea gas pipeline from Israel to Cyprus to Crete to mainland Greece, the three countries also hope to keep the Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis from growing.
     “All three have recognized the need for new alliances and have declared their willingness to widen this Mediterranean alliance to perhaps include other regional players such as other moderate Sunni-Arab countries such as Egypt and Gulf countries, despite strains due to the stalemate in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
     “. . . the declining importance of the Palestinian conflict as a significant issue between Israel and the GCC and the increased threat posed by Iranian expansion in the region has led some Gulf monarchies to engage with Jerusalem. In 2011 the UAE bought an estimated $300 million in military technology and in 2015 the Jewish State was allowed to open up a permanent mission accredited to the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi.
     “Last year the Israel Air Force also flew alongside pilots from the UAE and Pakistan in the Red Flag aerial exercise in the United States. Israel flew alongside pilots from Jordan and Singapore in the 2015 Red Flag exercise hosted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.” (Ref. 10)

Muslims Form “Ring of Peace” Around Synagogue

     In Oslo, Norway, on 22 February 2015, it was reported that Muslims formed a “ring of Peace” around a Jewish synagogue. The number of Muslims participating in the demonstration against Islamic extremists was as many as 1,000 or so as widely reported (for example, (Ref. 11)) or only 20 as one report claimed. (Ref. 12) Another report stated that, “More than 1,000 people, including many Muslims, formed a human chain around an Oslo synagogue in a show of support for Jews.” (Ref. 13)

     For me, the actual number present at the demonstration is irrelevant – what is relevant is the fact that a number of Muslims stood up in public and, in effect, stated that they opposed extremist Islamic jihadists. As the president of the 1,400-strong Jewish Oslo community, told The Times of Israel, “The importance of the event . . . was that a group of Muslim young adults took the initiative to speak out against anti-Semitism, and decided to ‘not let the radicals and jihadists take over the agenda.’ “ (Ref. 12)

A Glimmer of Light in the Darkness

     In spite of all the gloom-and-doom news that emanates from the Middle East, there are many efforts at mutual aid and cooperation that go largely underreported. Some day, these efforts may result in a true peace in the region – not an artificial one orchestrated by foreign powers with their own agendas that do not reflect the true interests of the local parties. Perhaps the day when lion shall lie down with lamb is closer than we think – let us hope so, and let the real pace lovers keep up their efforts.


  1. Muslim EMT Was First Responder At Temple Mount Terror Attack, Raphael Poch, The Jewish Press, Page 56,
    28 July 2017.
  2. Israeli hospital helps deaf Palestinian children hear for first time, Times of Israel Staff, The Times of Israel,
    19 February 2017.
  3. Palestinian Newspaper Admits: Israel Helps Palestinians, Rachel Avraham, United With Israel, 30 May 2013.
  4. Palestinian patients find help in Israeli hospital, Associated Press, ynet, 19 May 2015.
  5. Despite Hamas: Israel Boosts Gaza Exports, Maayana Miskin, Arutz Sheva, Accessed 4 August 2017.
  6. Israel Helps Gaza Export Cherry Tomatoes, Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva, 28 February 2011.
  7. IDF Helps Farmers from Gaza, Rachel Avraham, United With Israel, 2 July 2013.
  8. Israelis and Palestinians agree to water deal to help communities suffering chronic shortages, Joshua Mitnick,
    Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2017.
  9. Palestinians send four firefighting teams to help put out Israeli wildfires, Harry Cockburn, Independent,
    25 November 2016.
  10. Israel pilots flying alongside pilots from the UAE in week-long Greek drill, Rachel Avraham, AJN, 28 March 2017.
  11. 1,000 join Muslim 'ring of peace' outside Oslo synagogue, Associated Press, USA Today, 22 February 2015.
  12. MEDIA HOAX: 20 MUSLIMS HOLDING HANDS BECOME 1,000-STRONG ‘RING OF PEACE’ AT OSLO SYNAGOGUE, Jordan Schachtel, Breitbart, 22 February 2015.
  13. Oslo synagogue ‘peace ring’ marred by organizer's anti-Israel remarks, some Jews say,
    The Jerusalem Post: Diaspora, 22 February 2015.


  25 August 2017 {Article 303; Israel_35}    
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