The trusty ole Beeb had a story today entitled "Sri Lanka Rejects Israel Rescuers." I just wanted to make a few points about the situation in the article. First of all, I'm not even going to look at the religious conflict that is hinted at in the article, since that one liner is somewhat intended to stir some controversy. Instead I want to focus on the line about this being an issue with the Sri Lankan military and their disdain towards foreign soldiers helping them. Ok, I understand not wanting foreign soldiers on your soil, even though they are there to help, that's a somewhat valid argument and concern. It makes the country look weak to its constituents, etc. etc., but how much weaker can you look? You just got rolled over by a tsunami.
Secondly, to know anything about Israel would mean knowing that any Israeli who is even slightly skilled has had some form of training via the military. That's just the way the country works. Over half the country is considered, in some status or another, a soldier. That's what happens when military service is mandatory. That's where these people get their skills. Therefore, in order to send in relief workers, doctors and aides they would need to send "soldiers." I just don't know how much "soldier" these soldiers really were. It's entirely possible that a 45 year old pediatrician be classified as a soldier.
My point in all this is that Sri Lanka is hurting, and I understand the philosophy of trying to stay aloof during trying times, but at some point you need to start being realistic. You are literally drowning and someone is sticking out their hand to you, don't be stubborn. Again this is all assuming that this does in fact stem from a military concern. If the decision to refused aid does end up being religiously rooted, well then that's just plain stupid!
**This is not meant to ridicule or mock any persons or places. I have nothing against the countries affected by the earthquake and it's aftermath. It is just me trying to rationalize a decision made by a sovereign state, and analyzing foreign relations dynamics. Did they really have pride on their minds or is there more to this story than meets the eye?**