When disaster strikes anywhere in the world—Haiti, the Philippines, Congo, Sri Lanka (Turkey declined)—Israeli aid and personnel are among the first to arrive.
A report into the deaths of 63 Libyan refugees on a small boat last May said a “catalogue of errors” by coastguards and Nato meant they were never rescued.
The Council of Europe inquiry says two Nato ships close by failed to respond to distress calls, and no country launched a search and rescue mission.
Only nine people survived the 15-day Mediterranean voyage after the boat ran out of fuel and drifted back to Libya.
Nato has said it has no record of any aircraft or ship contacting the boat.
The report by Europe’s human rights watchdog says some 1,500 people died at sea trying to reach Europe in 2011.
Many of these were trying to flee from Libya or other conflicts in North Africa.
The nine-month inquiry concludes that there were many opportunities to rescue the migrants, who were hoping to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa:
After 18 hours at sea in a crowded boat with little fuel and water, a distress call was sent by satellite phone to an Eritrean priest living in Italy
This was passed to the Italian coastguard which used the satellite call to establish the boat’s position
The information was passed onto other ships in the area
Nato had said the area was a military zone under its control, but failed to launch a rescue operation
Within a few hours the survivors say a military helicopter hovered over them and dropped food and water, and indicated that it would return – it never did
The boat made contact with two fishing vessels which refused to help
On around the tenth day when half of those on board were already dead, a large military boat allegedly came alongside, but despite obvious distress signals it also sailed away.
Sorry, Libyans, but that’s how Europe treated Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust. It’s how they roll.