Jerusalem, 6 July 1995

FOREIGN MINISTRY ESTABLISHES NEW HUMANITARIAN AID UNIT

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

The Foreign Ministry has decided to establish a humanitarian and emergency aid unit, in the framework of the International Cooperation Division’s Projects Department. A meeting was recently held on the subject, between Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin the initiator of the idea and representatives of various organizations with experience in such matters, such as the IDF, the Defense Ministry, Magen David Adom, and the Foreign Ministry’s situation room, International Cooperation Department, and International Organizations Division. Mr. Beilin said that he views humanitarian aid as being an important part of Israel’s role in the international arena.

The unit will deal with preparing mission profiles and will be responsible for coordinating and implementing emergency aid missions, when the political leadership decides to dispatch Israeli aid. The unit will be equipped to deal with natural disasters, epidemics, incidents of radiation poisoning, famines, clearing minefields, and restoring democracy and order.

The unit will be equipped to dispatch teams of experts for consultative and operational duties, and supply equipment such as food, medicine, and mobile field hospitals. The unit will also engage in rehabilitation and follow-up after providing immediate assistance.

The need for the unit arose out of Israel’s involvement in recent years in providing aid to disaster victims in Rwanda, Argentina, Armenia, Haiti, Swaziland, Sakhalin Island (Russia), and other areas.