Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Palestinians of Yarmouk An Arab asks why there is only shameful silence when Israel is not to blame?

The Guardian    by Mehdi Hasan-   the presenter of al-Jazeera ­English's The Café. He was a senior editor at the New Statesman and a news and current affairs editor at Channel 4. He is co-author of Ed: the Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader

Palestinian refugees are being starved, bombed and gunned down like animals. “If you want to feed your children, you need to take your funeral shroud with you,” one told Israeli news website Ynet. “There are snipers on every street, you are not safe anywhere.” This isn’t happening, however, in southern Lebanon, or even Gaza. And these particular Palestinians aren’t being killed or maimed by Israeli bombs and bullets. This is Yarmouk, a refugee camp on the edge of Damascus, just a few miles from the palace of Bashar al-Assad. Since 1 April, the camp has been overrun by Islamic State militants, who have begun a reign of terror: detentions, shootings, beheadings and the rest. Hundreds of refugees are believed to have been killed in what Ban Ki-moon has called the “deepest circle of hell”.

But this isn’t just about the depravity of Isis. The Palestinians of Yarmouk have been bombarded and besieged by Assad’s security forces since 2012. Water and electricity were cut off long ago, and of the 160,000 Palestinian refugees who once lived in the camp only 18,000 now remain. The Syrian regime has, according to Amnesty International, been “committing war crimes by using starvation of civilians as a weapon”, forcing residents to “resort to eating cats and dogs”. Even as the throat-slitters took control, Assad’s pilots were continuing to drop barrel bombs on the refugees. “The sky of Yarmouk has barrel bombs instead of stars,” said Abdallah al-Khateeb, a political activist living inside the camp.

It is difficult to disagree with the verdict of the Palestinian League for Human Rights that the Palestinians of Syria are “the most untold story in the Syrian conflict”. There are 12 official Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, housing more than half a million people. Ninety per cent, estimates the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), are in continuous need of humanitarian aid. In Yarmouk, throughout 2014, residents were forced to live on around 400 calories of food aid a day – fewer than a fifth of the UN’s recommended daily amount of 2,100 calories for civilians in war zones – because UNRWA aid workers had only limited access to the camp. Today, they have zero access.“To know what it is like in Yarmouk,” one of the camp’s residents is quoted as saying on the UNRWA website, “turn off your electricity, water, heating, eat once a day, live in the dark.”

Their plight should matter to us all – regardless of whether their persecutors happen to be Israelis, Syrians, Egyptians or, for that matter, fellow Palestinians (Palestinian Authority security forces, after all, have been shooting and beating unarmed Palestinian protesters for several years now).[...]

Let’s be honest: how different, how vocal and passionate, would our reaction be if the people besieging Yarmouk were wearing the uniforms of the IDF? Our selective outrage is morally unsustainable. Many of us who have raised our voices in support of the Palestinian cause have inexcusably turned a blind eye to the fact that tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed by fellow Arabs in recent decades: by the Jordanian military in the Black September conflicts of the early 1970s; by Lebanese militias in the civil war of the mid-1980s; by Kuwaiti vigilantes after the first Gulf war, in the early 1990s. Egypt, the so-called “heart of the Arab world”, has colluded with Israel in the latter’s eight-year blockade of Gaza. [...]

2 comments :

  1. The_Original_Bored_LawyerApril 15, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    Why? Because the Palestinians are viewed by their "friends" as a convenient stick to beat Israel. If you hate someone, and there is a stick conveniently at hand you can use to beat him, then you care about the stick. Otherwise you don't.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The poor guy finds it difficult to draw the logical conclusion: that his allies against Israel actually do not care about the Palestinians in the slightest. They hate Jews is all.

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED!
please use either your real name or a pseudonym.