Radio silence reigns among Israel’s critics as Palestinians suffer brutality at the hands of pro-Assad forces in Syria. In the Palestinian refugee camp known as Yarmouk, near Damascus, residents are undergoing a campaign of forced starvation, as pro-regime forces are blocking the flow of food and medicine to the camp and firing on PLO trucks carrying much needed emergency supplies. Innocent children and elderly people with no possible connection to the conflict tearing apart Syria are among those who have died of hunger. Yarmouk’s population has dwindled from 160,000 to 18,000 since the civil war began. The WaPo reports:
Camp residents and activists on Tuesday reported the deaths of two more people from hunger, bringing to 48 the number who have died since November from illnesses related to the siege, according to Farouq al-Rifai, an activist in Yarmouk who uses a pseudonym to protect family members living in government-held areas. […]
In a video posted Monday on YouTube, a teenage boy living in the Yarmouk camp described the anguish of residents.
“We just want to eat and drink, and we have no money,” he said. “What have we done to be part of this?” he added, breaking into sobs. “It is nothing to do with us.”
Hussein Ibish reports at NOW News on the ghastly response of Lebanon’s pro-Iran, pro-Hezbollah newspaper to the suffering in Yarmouk: “With absolutely no sense of decency or shame, [editor of Al-Akhbar Ibrahim al-Amin] writes, ‘the unfolding events [in Yarmouk] are 100 percent a Palestinian responsibility. … The one who seeks to liberate Palestine doesn’t join a bunch of murderers who work under US command to serve one occupier and one criminal: Israel.’”
Of course if Israel actually did anything even remotely this heinous, everyone from the BDS movement to the UN General Assembly would be spitting nails and screaming in righteous wrath. The total silence among Israel-bashers while Palestinians are starved and murdered just a few dozen miles outside Israel’s borders tells us two things about so much ostensible concern for the Palestinians. First is that, in the cozy cocoon of the anti-Israel world, the suffering of Palestinians only becomes visible when Israelis do something to them. Otherwise they and their problems simply don’t exist.
The second is that many of the people who think they’re standing up for Palestinians are more prejudiced than they’d like to admit. They spend much time and energy condemning the Jewish state for various crimes committed against Palestinians, but do nothing as far more despicable crimes are visited upon the same people by Arab Muslims. The phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations” comes to mind.
Those who really want to stand up for the rights to life and dignity of the Palestinian people, and for the existence of a Palestinian state to enshrine those rights, should be calling attention to this carnage, not sweeping it under the rug.