Syrian and Israeli NGOs cooperate on humanitarian aid crisis


On 29 September 2014, the European Foundation for Democracy hosted a closed-door briefing on the recent mobilisation of Syrian and Israeli NGOs that are attempting to cooperate in unison to address the ongoing humanitarian aid crisis in Syria. The guest speakers were Amin Ahmad, a Syrian advocate for refugees, Gal Lusky, CEO of Israel Flying Aid, as well as Georgette Bennett, Founder of Multifaith Alliance for Syrian refugees in Jordan. The speakers will outline how this historic partnership has come to be and how they continue to overcome significant hurdles to deliver humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of refugees affected by the Syrian conflict.

As part of EFD’s ongoing work with Syrian activists, official opposition representatives, NGOs and others, we have observed growing numbers of requests and increasing interest from the Syrian side to engage with their Israeli counterparts. To a certain extent, informal meetings and exchanges have already been taking place albeit not in a structured or systematic manner. The focus of these initial but important contacts was primarily on the delivery of humanitarian aid and assistance on the ground in Syria or to refugees in neighbouring countries, for example, through the efforts of the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees in Jordan. We believe that these initial exchanges between Syrian and Israeli groups have introduced a paradigm shift in the geopolitical context and in the discourse about future relations between the neighbours.