Haitian President Thanks Israel

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PORT-AU-PRINCE - Haitian President Rene Preval publicly thanked Israel for its timely response following the massive earthquake on Tuesday, January 12.

"This disaster has not only harmed people," Haiti's president told Israel's Channel 10. "One must understand that the damage caused was comprehensive and has affected every aspect of Haitian society," he said.

The Israeli field hospital set up last weekend has been pivotal in life-saving efforts in the city's devastated capital.

The director of the facility, set up in a Port-au-Prince soccer field, said his staff would remain until alternative facilities are handling the patient load.

"As long as we don't have someone authoritative to take our wounded, we won't leave," Brig.-Gen. Shalom Ben-Aryeh said, adding that they would know more on Sunday when the U.S. hospital ship, Comfort, comes up to speed.

"The decision will be made on Sunday," Ben-Aryeh said. "If we decide to stay longer, we will replace some of the teams," he said.

Dr. Leonid Eidelman, Israel Medical Association chairman, wrote a letter of appreciation to the 250-member team.

"[The doctors] are not only physicians, but also ambassadors of good will and have demonstrated their true humanity," Dr. Eidelman wrote.

Another 14-member team of Israeli medical professionals is leaving early Saturday morning for Haiti.

CBN's Operation Blessing has been providing the Israeli staff with medical supplies, equipment, food, water, transportation and logistical support.

OB Director of International Disaster Relief and Special Projects David Darg has been coordinating efforts with Charmaine Hedding, director of OB's Jerusalem office.

Israel has also committed a delegation of 100 police officers to join a multi-national peacekeeping force to help maintain order Haiti struggles to locate its homeless and begin the rebuilding process.

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The Jerusalem Post contributed to this report.

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