Thursday, August 17, 2006

How not to give in to despair.

Jonathan Edelstein:

The next task in the Middle East is to rebuild what has been destroyed and to headl what can't be rebuilt: to restore the houses and the roads, to comfort and provide for the bereaved families. Rebuilding northern Israel is an urgent priority, reconstructing southern Lebanon much more so. Lebanon sustained more damage than Israel - environmental as well as structural - and it has fewer resources to rebuild. Lebanon, has also been under a blockade for the past month and is running short on humanitarian supplies in addition to its longer-term needs.

Some, Shimon Peres included, have proposed a massive international effort to rebuild Lebanon - a Marshall Plan of sorts. It's important, for both political and moral reasons, that this happen and that Israel take part in it. Such a program would be both a way to ensure that the south is rebuilt by someone other than Hizbullah, and a chance to make good on the promise that Israel is not at war with the Lebanese people. But aid programs, especially major ones, always take time to plan and implement, and there's a great deal that can't wait for the international community to get its act together.

For this reason, I will match up to US $1250 in reader donations for reconstruction of southern Lebanon and up to US $750 to rebuild northern Israel. I strongly encourage Israeli and Jewish readers to donate to Lebanese charities and vice versa, but that isn't mandatory; I will match all donations to non-extremist-controlled charities up to the stated sum. For those who may not be sure where to contribute, this portal, which links to charities helping both countries, may provide a starting point.

This is a marvellous thing to do, and I'll be giving what little I can in the suggested ratio. Jonathan points to a list of safe charities. Please give whatever you can. It's the right, as well as the self-interested, thing to do.

Hilzoy of Obsidianwings has already run a similar drive.

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