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Little Satan to the Rescue

Here’s more on the Israeli-Iranian cooperation in Thailand, which I posted about yesterday.

Officials from Israel and Iran put aside political animosity Tuesday to work together in using Israeli forensics expertise to identify their dead from the crash of a jetliner on this Thai resort island.

A Thai aviation official, meanwhile, revealed that half of the Phuket airport’s wind-shear warning devices were not working at the time of Sunday’s crash. He said the outage could have contributed to the disaster.

Six Israelis and 18 Iranians were among the 89 people killed when the One-Two-Go Airlines jet crashed and burned while trying to land in heavy rain and wind carrying 130 passengers and crew.

It was not clear whether Larisa Fayad, a theatre worker from Vancouver, is among the dead. Her father, Foued Fayad, told The Canadian Press on Monday that his daughter was on the flight and was not among the confirmed survivors.

Another Canadian, Mildred Furlong, of Prince George, B.C., was among those who escaped the fiery wreckage after the crash.

Relations are minimal and tense between the Jewish state and the Islamic Republic, whose president once denied the Holocaust, but diplomats from both countries shrugged off any suggestion the antagonism would hinder efforts to help grieving families.

“It’s human nature to help in solving this problem as soon as possible,” Safdar Shafiee from the Iranian Embassy in Bangkok said after shaking hands with Yaki Oved, head representative of Israeli police in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

“In situations like this you forget the division,” Oved said. “The main thing is to help. You don’t think about the politics.”

Shafiee said 15 of the dead Iranians had been identified, but fingerprints or DNA samples to be sent from relatives in Iran would be needed to try to identify the remaining three.

“He told our delegation how they were worried about their missing. I told him we can help him,” Oved said, referring to an Israeli forensics team that came to Thailand.

The team, from an emergency rescue service, has long experience in dealing with victims of traumatic injuries from the decades of Arab-Israeli conflict. It will try to match bodies with dental records, fingerprints, DNA and distinguishing features described by relatives.

“We always are willing to help people in need, and it includes, I guess, the Iranians also,” said Lior Weintraub, spokesman for the Israeli government delegation in Phuket.

Shafiee, the Iranian official, said it was natural for people to work together after a humanitarian disaster. “I think there is no difference between the humans. All of them are humans and every nation can give any help that they can,” he said.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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