Palestinians decry world's ‘double standards’ on Russia-Ukraine war

The Palestinian leaders’ main argument is that the international community is being hypocritical and racist by being more sympathetic towards the Ukrainians because of their color, religion and race.

 Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in Sochi, Russia November 23, 2021. (photo credit: SPUTNIK/EVGENY BIYATOV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in Sochi, Russia November 23, 2021.
(photo credit: SPUTNIK/EVGENY BIYATOV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)

While Palestinian leaders have chosen not to take sides in the Russia-Ukraine war, they have nevertheless begun accusing the international community of applying two sets of rules in dealing with various crises.

The Palestinian leaders’ main argument is that the international community is being hypocritical and racist by being more sympathetic toward the Ukrainians because of their color, religion and race.

They are also taking it to task for allegedly ignoring Israeli “crimes” against the Palestinians while condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and suspected “war crimes.”

Mahmoud al-Habbash, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, on Friday condemned the international community over its “silence on Israeli violations while rushing to denounce human rights violations in other parts of the world.”

Addressing the international community in a sermon he delivered during Friday prayers in Ramallah, Habbash asked, “Does international legitimacy apply according to religion, color, race or geography?”

 Mahmoud al-Habbash (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Mahmoud al-Habbash (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Referring to the Russia-Ukraine war, Habbash said that “when events occur here or there, the international community is mobilized. But no one notices the Palestinian people who have been facing injustice for more than 70 years. Justice and law do not accept selectivity.”

Echoing the same sentiment, another senior Palestinian official, PLO Executive Committee member Hussein al-Sheikh, wrote on Twitter: “When color, religion and race become an identity, values, morals and humanity are lost. When international legitimacy is breached by double standards, justice is lost, rights are destroyed and power becomes tyrannical.”

As part of an attempt to liken the Russia-Ukraine crisis to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sheikh and other Palestinian officials said the international community needs to notice that the Palestinians, like the Ukrainians, are also facing “occupation” and “displacement.”

An official with the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, various international bodies and organizations have condemned Russia and even accused it of committing war crimes while “ignoring Palestinian suffering and Israeli crimes.”

“This is a clear example of the double standards of the international community,” the official said. “If Russia is committing war crimes, what about Israeli crimes? If the Ukrainian people are victims in the eyes of the international community, what about the Palestinians, who are also victims of [Israeli] occupation?”

Osama Kawassmeh, a spokesperson for the ruling Fatah faction, also lambasted the international community for applying different sets of principles for the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Do some consider Palestinian blood to be second-class blood?” Kawassmeh asked in a statement on Saturday. “Is humanity classified according to race and color?”

In an editorial, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds said the Ukraine crisis “raises many questions” about the American and European positions.

“If they are keen on protecting their rights and their future, and are afraid of Russian expansion, then the big question is: What is their position toward the Israeli occupation?” the newspaper asked.

“The double standards of the US and the West are the focal point of tension, violence and bloodshed and make Washington an unacceptable mediator and a country that is unable to achieve stability in the world. This unfair and illogical duality of positions will only lead to more instability and the rejection of the irrational US policy.”