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      Israel Ready to Provide Quake Aid to 'Palestinians'

      In the event of a regional earthquake, Israel would be prepared to aid Jews and Arabs, alike.
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 5/16/2012, 12:17 PM

      Earthquake preparedness drill
      Earthquake preparedness drill
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Israel has set up a mechanism to funnel aid to the ‘Palestinians’ in the event of an earthquake, Israeli officials said Tuesday.

      A 5.5-magnitude earthquake shook Israel last Friday, serving as a reminder that the region is vulnerable to the Syria-African Rift, a northern extension of Africa's Rift Valley, Reuters reported.

      In the event of a major earthquake, Israel would host a United Nations aid distribution center to receive relief from abroad, by air and the Mediterranean Sea, for both Israelis and Arabs.

      "The working assumption is that they (Palestinians) do not have the means to deal with such a disaster on their own," said Alon Rozen, director-general of Israel's Civil Defense Ministry.

      The last major quake in the region took place in 1927 and killed hundreds of people. Such events tend to recur every 80 or 90 years.

      Rozen stated that Israel raised the idea to arrange for the UN-mandated contingency On-Site Operations Coordination Center, renewing the country’s preparation for a regional quake.

      "The aspect of international aid for the Palestinians was something we had not dealt with. Last September, we realized this was a shortfall," he said.

      A UN official confirmed the OSOCC coordination with Israel.