Israel Deputy Foreign Minister penned a heartfelt oped in the Jerusalem Post expressing thanks to various international players for their offered and provided relief in the terrible Carmel fire disaster in Israel.
To Ayalon's credit, he thanks Turkey which sent two airplanes to support -- along with other aircraft from Greece, Cyprus, Russia, France, Switzerland, the US, Spain and Germany. Danny Ayalon and Israel have had a rough time with Turkey of late -- and the gesture from Turkey and the thanks from Ayalon and the Israeli government are important.
He also thanks Bulgaria, Italy and Azerbaijan for committed assistance of firefighters and other support.
And then he mentions that "immediate neighbors" have also "provided significant assistance."
Perhaps this is code for the Palestinians. I'm not sure.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas had a rare phone call in which Abbas offered condolences to the victims of the Carmel fire and offered trucks and firefighters. Netanyahu expressed appreciation.
Danny Ayalon's note is generally a good one. But this is the sort of disaster when somone of Ayalon's stature and role should reflect magnanimity and inclusion.
A bit of unsolicited counsel to Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon and the Foreign Ministry: Express thanks to the Palestinian people for their support -- by name -- and not just as the "immediate neighbors."
This won't fix the bigger problems -- but disasters are often opportunities for good will and human empathy to get some momentum and move those in conflict in a healthier direction.
He has amended his piece with the following Tweet:
@Danny Ayalon: Too many countries, too little space. "Immediate neighbors" includes Egypt, Jordan and the PA. Deepest gratitude to all who helped!
I am sure many appreciate the gesture -- but one lesson from this is to always try and make sure that there is room for Egypt, Jordan and particularly the Palestinian Authority when there is positive news.
-- Steve Clemons