Why is it that for Palestinian interests to be advocated, whether by the Palestinian leadership, the Arab world, or the international community, Israel must somehow be maligned in the process? For NGOs, trade unions and the media to focus their attention on Palestinian plight, the Jewish state must be implicated, one way or another.
Importantly, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) recently reported that 20,000 Palestinians face starvation and close to 15 Palestinians have died since last September in the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria.
The camp is under siege not just by radical Syrians, but also by members of the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a group loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
According to Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has altogether ignored their plight and has not appealed to the international community for intervention.
Abu Toameh writes: “The PLO leadership has stopped short of calling for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council or the Arab League to end the suffering of the Palestinian refugees in Syria. The Arab League did meet recently in Cairo at the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. But the gathering was called not to discuss the plight of the Palestinian refugees, but to talk about Kerry’s latest proposals for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
Abbas, the official representative of the Palestinian people, has failed to campaign for these Palestinians who languish in squalor, are starving to death, and are besieged by radical terrorists.
Why aren’t pro-Palestinian groups drafting and circulating petitions, lobbying government officials to speak out in solidarity with these Palestinians, launching flotillas to this refugee camp, implementing boycott, divestment and sanction campaigns against Syrian-made products and services? Where is the outrage? Could it be that because Israel’s image couldn’t be tarnished via such advocacy, nary a peep is worthy of utterance? These Palestinians, it seems, are mere cannon fodder.
Much interest is now rightly being paid to the Middle East region, largely due to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s monumental first official trip to Israel. However, another important matter has slipped out of sight and out of mind: The fact that a total of 12 weapons, including pistols and submachine guns, were found at the Palestinian embassy complex in Prague, where a booby- trapped safe killed the Palestinian ambassador.
One wonders: do Canadian authorities have safety concerns about the Palestinian General Delegation in Canada, which has offices in our nation’s capitol? What about US authorities in Washington? Another matter to consider: Israel has long-claimed that the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), the Turkish NGO which organized and operated the Mavi Marmara flotilla to break the Gaza blockade in May 2010, had direct ties to al-Qaida.
Despite Israel’s displaying incontrovertible evidence to confirm this matter, the world, our media, and the general public has ignored Israel’s protestations. Yet, it looks like the Turks finally got the message. The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reports that multi-city raids on al-Qaida operations included an IHH storage facility located near the Syrian border.
What was found in the buildings of this “charitable” organization? Weapons stockpiles.
The so-called “humanitarian activists” who were aboard the Mavi Marmara flotilla ship were not disciples of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., but rather hard-core Islamists from the IHH terrorist organization armed with automatic weapons, knives, metal rods, firebombs, Molotov cocktails, slingshots and other weapons that were used to attack Israeli forces as they tried to interdict the flotilla.
Israel’s well-documented position, one that was upheld by the United Nations (no friend of Israel) is that it was well within its rights in enforcing a legal maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of Hamas terrorists.
The Mavi Marmara incident, which occurred serendipitously when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in Canada for his official visit, saw Israel assailed in the headlines of Canadian media and international news outlets for barbarity and bellicosity. It became an “international incident on the high seas,” despite the fact that when Israeli forces tried to peacefully interdict the flotilla ship, large groups of radical activists surrounded the soldiers and beat them senseless, throwing one soldier over the side of the ship. As a result of the premeditated attack, seven IDF soldiers were injured, and nine of the passengers were killed.
Will the world take note of IHH’s ties to terror? Will the world galvanize support for the starving Palestinians in Syria? Will there be international opprobrium expressed about a cache of weapons found in the Palestinian Embassy in the Czech Republic? Sorry to disappoint, but because Israel can’t be the fall guy, these matters will surely escape public scrutiny.
The author is CEO of B’nai Brith Canada.