Joint Resolution Announced Affirming the Work of Operation Good Neighbor
Lankford, Casey, Mast, and Sherman Introduce Resolution Supporting Israel’s Humanitarian Aid Efforts in Syria
Last week as part of a bi-partisan effort, Senators James Lankford (R. OK.) and Senator Bob Casey (D. PA.) on the Senate side, and Representatives Brian Mast (R.FL.) and Brad Sherman (D.CA.) in the House, introduced a Joint Resolution reaffirming the unique collaboration among United States nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to deliver humanitarian assistance to Syrians.
As is noted in the Resolution, the Syrian war has continued for eight years during which time, 14 million Syrians have fled, and 6.5 million people have been displaced within the country. Through Operation Good Neighbor, the IDF worked with U.S. and Syrian NGOs to provide humanitarian aid to southwest Syria. This cooperative effort delivered food, fuel, medicine, ambulances and medical supplies – and demonstrated the value of collaboration that serves as a model for positive relations between Syrians and Israelis.
The Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refuges composed, of over 100 faith based and civic organizations, brought together Syrian NGOs and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to deliver over $120 million to those in desperate need in Syria. MFA’s shipments included massive 40-foot containers of medication, medical supplies and equipment, food, clothing and even four ambulances — all of which was accomplished without any federal funds.
As highlighted in the Resolution itself, the close working relations forged between former enemies was an historical accomplishment:
“…In addition to the value of the humanitarian relief itself, the Syrian/Israeli partnerships, created and reinforced through the success of the new channel, demonstrated the value of cooperation and continues to serve as a role model for strengthened positive relations between Syrians and Israelis….”
In introducing the legislation, Senator Lankford said, “The Syrian dictator’s brutality stands in stark contrast to the compassion and generosity of Israel and many American organizations serving the people of Syria.”
Similarly, Senator Casey noted that, “Operation Good Neighbor is a testament to how institutions come together in times of crises to provide critical humanitarian support to populations in need.” Casey added: “As Bashar al-Assad continues his reign of terror over the Syrian people, let Operation Good Neighbor serve as a reminder of the human impact of war and what can be achieved when governmental and non-governmental organizations to come together to support and help rebuild communities decimated by war.”
Representative Mast drew on his own experience, commenting, “When I volunteered alongside the IDF in Israel, I witnessed firsthand how the men and women of the IDF play such an important role in not just protecting Israel but also providing stability in the Middle East. The IDF’s Operation Good Neighbor has resulted in important humanitarian aid and relationships between the IDF and the Syrian people. We should continue to use this program as a model as we find new ways to bring long-term stability to the region.”
Recognizing the regional importance of the operation Representative Sherman said: “Operation Good Neighbor was a rare bright spot amid the never-ending tragedy of the Syrian Civil War. It was yet another powerful example of the immense good the United States and Israel can do when we work together—not only for ourselves but for the region as a whole.”
The Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refuges (MFA) is very pleased that this legislation recognizes both the humanitarian work that was done, and the groundbreaking partnerships among the IDF, and Syrian and U.S. NGOs that were created through Operation Good Neighbor.
Full text of the Resolution can be found here.
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