Yarmouk – A Palestinian Responsibility

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Palestinian children carry a fake coffin as they take part in a sit-in on January 4, 2014 in Gaza city in solidarity with Palestinian children at Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. (Photo: AFP - Mahmud Hams)

By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Published Monday, January 13, 2014

Are we to express repentance before tackling such a subject? So be it, here we go: He who besieges a refugee camp is a criminal; he who kills people from hunger or thirst is a criminal; and he who doesn’t speak up against such oppression is a criminal! Fair enough? Let’s get down to business.

Following the death of Ariel Sharon, a single sentence was echoed by those supporting the opposition in Syria and objecting to the Resistance in Lebanon! Based on experience, ideology, politics, history, and geography, the majority of those people are not advocates of the Palestinian cause. On the contrary, they never once stood against any of the humiliation and massacres suffered by Palestinians all over the world, yet they agreed: “Sharon only died after he was assured that someone in Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp is continuing what he started in Sabra and Shatila!”

Those who believe this is an expression of solidarity with Palestinians, let them have it. Those who think that such a stupid slogan helps Palestinians, they are ridiculous.

But, as a matter of fact, Yarmouk is not Sabra and Shatila. Syria is not Lebanon. The Syrian army is neither the Israeli occupying forces nor the racist Lebanese gangs. The armed groups in the camp are not the pioneers of the Palestinian revolution. The Salafi Palestinian movement is not the Palestine Liberation Organization. And the road to Palestine doesn’t pass through Damascus.

First and foremost, the Palestinians ought to face the truth themselves, commoners before leaders, and refugees before residents of the historical land in the territories stolen in 1948, the occupied West Bank and liberated Gaza, which was transformed into a big prison!

Today, the unfolding events are 100 percent a Palestinian responsibility. This is a fact, and those who deny it should present us with evidence, not slogans. They should admit that Palestinians in Syria enjoyed advantages that their counterparts were deprived of in every corner of the world – advantages not even enjoyed in Gaza and the West Bank. In Syria, Palestinians were citizens.

Naturally, Palestinians endured oppression, tyranny, and misery like all Syrians. They also suffered from the practices of some Palestinian forces that took advantage of their relations with Damascus. But what happened to Yarmouk today? What made it a target? What pushed Palestinians in this camp to believe in toppling Bashar al-Assad?

In mid-2011, Yarmouk came to be at the heart of the Syrian crisis. No one imagined it would remain neutral, but no sane person ever figured that much of the camp would raise their weapons in the face of Syria.

The camp witnessed interior clashes, then some residents “rebelled” and took over large areas in the interest of “the Syrian revolution.” They refused to let the Syrian army in, and turned the camp into a haven for opposition armed groups.

The Syrian army bombarded the camp. Militants and civilians were killed. This was followed by the great exodus. Those who stayed are the ones who refused to go through a new displacement, as well as members of armed groups and their families. In a few months the camp was transformed into a haven for groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front.

The camp’s most prominent group is Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis Brigades (Brigades in the Environs of Jerusalem), formed by members of Hamas, including a bodyguard of Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal. Hamas claims the group leaders are no longer within its organizational structure, but still refuses to condemn their actions. Some of these militants provided assistance to armed groups outside the camp and even outside Damascus countryside.

Meanwhile, the Syrian army has not entered the camp, and it doesn’t intend to. This is a decision made by Syrian authorities and well known by all parties, including the camp’s armed groups. No real solution will ever be reached unless the Palestinians themselves force the militants out and decide to distance the camp from any interior Syrian tumult.

But the real issue here goes beyond Yarmouk, it actually involves many Palestinians, including the advocates of the Islamic movement inside Palestine and the diaspora. It is based on a Palestinian awareness that what is happening today goes against their beliefs regarding the future of their cause. The behaviors of Islamists in Syria, Egypt, and other countries brought catastrophes.

Can any Palestinian explain the secret of this great enthusiasm to topple the Assad regime? Whose interests are they serving by destroying Syria?

Why is a Palestinian youth from the 1948 territories, the West Bank, or Gaza ready to travel to Syria to blow himself up when he can walk a few miles and blow himself up against occupiers of his land? There are a number of facts that indicate Palestinians are contributing to the war in Syria.

According to a December 2013 BBC report, 30 Palestinians from Gazan were killed in Syria, while an estimated 70 Palestinians left Gaza to join the war in Syria. Prominent Salafi leader in Gaza, Abdullah al-Maqdesi, told France 24, “About 27 jihadis left to fight in Syria, some of them came back, some were martyred, some injured and others are still there or left Syria to another country.”

Among the deceased: suicide bomber Wissam al-Atl and Fahed al-Habash whose obituary by the Hamas government stated he was martyred in Syria. Hamas police distributed official posters saying that Habash was killed while fighting alongside al-Nusra Front in Homs. His brother told British media that Fahed “wanted to fight Shia in Syria.”

Mohammed al-Qonayta, a Qassam Brigades leader, was killed while training ISIS fighters. Mohammed Jihad al-Zaanin fought alongside ISIS and was proclaimed a “martyr in the service of God.”

Eben Tamima Center in Gaza also announced the death of Nidal al- Ashi and Saed Shaalan “the martyrs of the Salafi movement in Syria”.

What are these Palestinians doing? Why are they doing it? Who can stop them or convince them that their battle is elsewhere? Palestinian refugees are the ones called to conduct an overall review.

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.

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


The following article shows that there is more than what is told by the "activists" in the camp (i.e., armed terrorists who let their Palestinian hostages starve to death to use them as a propaganda tool). That the rest of the Holy Alliance of Islamists, including Palestinian Islamists, and their useful idiots in the Western "left", make so much noise shouldn't surprise anyone. They failed to bring NATO bombers in, and now they try to push Palestinians into the war, particularly in Lebanon against Hizbullah, as Saudi and Israeli paymasters wish.

You needn't go as far as 1976 (nonetheless unlike his father against Tel al-Zaatar, President Bashar has refused to attack Yarmouk, which is why the overwhelming majority of the residents have been able to leave to safety). Suffice it to remember the camp of Nahr el-Bared in the North of Lebanon in 2007, that the Saudi-armed Jihadists seized, and how the Lebanese army launched a bloody attack to eliminate the terrorist threat. Both examples make Bashar outstanding in his refusal to order an attack (and be accused to perpetrate a massacre). On the contrary, the siege has allowed to contain the terrorists and to let the refugees out. If the situation has deteriorated so dramatically now it is because the rebels prevent the refugees from fleeing and the food and medical supplies from getting in.

And this is the truth of it: the rebels' hostages are trapped and die, and the rebels keep their strength in order to shoot at the trucks bringing the needed supplies. For them the refugees are more useful dead.

Obviously their propagandists outside will not see this, because they aren't actually interested in saving the Palestinians in the camp, but in smearing the Syrian government.

A shame.

Palestinian minister says Syria rebels blocking Yarmuk aid


One more thing ya Ibrahim- the logic (or lack thereof) you use in your article is the same as the one terrorists use when they attack Hermel or Hart Hreik or the Iranian embassy, because these people are responsible for Hizballah getting involved militarily in Syria.

The moment the author began to address 'The Palestinians' as if they are collectively responsible, or one monolithic movement, it was time to exit out. Normally, Ibrahim has some insightful and intelligent commentaries. In this case he shows neither.

The question they have to answer, is why despite what hey have always claimed, they have been ready to fight in Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria and Egypt, in fact every corner in the Arab world except Palestine?
Palestinians seem to have a great dal of resistance to resisting Israel, as shown by Abdullah Azzam's Jihad, rather than Jerusalem which was a stones throw away from his Amman Home, he chose to pack up and go 4000 miles away taking other stupid Arabs with him.
Anyone now tells me about Palestine, I simply switch off and say it is non of my business and if they want their home back let them go and free it themselves. In fact the sooner all Palestinian refugees are pushed back from their camps to the border regions the better it is for Lebanon and all Arab Countries, as Snake will always be a snake and it has to be either defanged or put in a secure glass cage.

The fact that Palestinians live In refugee camps 65 years after the Naqba,says much. They are a tool for the Arabs. Means for Ideology. No other people as far as I know,who were displaced following a war In modern times, remained In refugee camps this long.Blame Israel, blame the "west", blame "colonialism",but god forbid you point the finger the right way- at the Arab people themselves. You sacrifice the well being, the future of Palestinians.Until there Is a viable Palestinian state, what stops Arab nations from absorbing Palestinians as citizens with fair rights?Freedom of movement ,education not sponsored by UNRWA and other charities,work prospects, etc, are denied of them, by their "brothers".You are racists towards Palestinians just as the ones you point fingers at.

There's a lot wrong with Mr. Amin's article, mostly that while he admits that there has been a great exodus of Palestinians from Yarmouk and that it has been overrun by foreign jihadis that the Palestinians are to blame for what the SAA is incapable of doing, i.e., rooting out these terrorists from Syria. Mr. Amin and you "sandbagger" are entitled to your positions but I am dumbfounded by the contempt that both of you posses for such a vulnerable demographic because of what a small minority, perhaps less than 1% of non-Syrian jihadis in Syria are doing, why is it so easy to scapegoat Palestinians time and time again for Lebanese? Thankfully SHN does not participate in this type of incitement regardless of who is exploding bombs in the Dahieh. But for me, call me weak if you want but I would not be able to look at pictures of new born Zionist infants reduced to skin and bones and gloat or point fingers of blame even at my enemies. And sandbagger please know that Palestinians dont want to stay in Lebanon or any other country that treats them like garbage, you may think you do them a favor by letting them stay in your slums after all these years but you don't. Shame on you both.

"Palestinians seem to have a great dal of resistance to resisting Israel, as shown by Abdullah Azzam's Jihad, rather than Jerusalem which was a stones throw away from his Amman Home, he chose to pack up and go 4000 miles away taking other stupid Arabs with him."

A comment typical of the braindead pro-Assadi charlatans who don't have a clue about current affairs, Abdullah Azzam and his brothers engaged in many attacks on Israel for which they were jailed and tortured by the Zionist Jordanian regime, backed by Ibrahim al-Amin's pathetic Jordanian stooge, Nahid Hattar, who is totally silent on the treacheries and collaboration of the Jordanian regime, and praises Wasfi at-Tal who waged war on the Palestinian resistance in Jordan. The Palestinian people don't need lessons from the dregs of the Iran-Syria axis who sanctify their traitors

Abu Umar, you're back! that's nice and it's nice to see you brought the same bag of vocabulary back with you.
Visit the blog created in your honor to count all the repetitious drivel. It's also good to visit as a one-stop-shop for people who want to know about all the treacheries of all the dregs who keep silent so they can ride to power on American tanks.

The Ba'thist government has spent decades forcing Palestinians into submissive, brainwashed servants of its propaganda machine and its patriarchal hand-outs, and now tried to pull a maneuver on the UN aid agency trying to help them (http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/amid-gunfire-relief-con...). The same government has spent decades do nothing to help the wider Palestinian communities. Moreover, it has never allowed any individual in Syria to have full freedom of speech, civil rights to vote for independent parties, or truly independent media. The Assad regime is making a mockery of the entire history of the Palestinian struggle for basic human rights and dignity. You have it all wrong. Yarmuk owes Assad nothing. Assad owes them everything, because his dictatorship would never had been established without 'Emergency Laws' overriding democracy since 1963--in the name of fighting Israel for the sake of the Palestinians. Down with Assad and his lies. Please give the people of Yarmuk some bread, and an exit visa.

I have felt for quite a while that Ali Abunimah's treatment of Palestinian refugee issues is the very weakest and most ignorant thing about his work, which is in many respects exemplary. But he is very much a member of the Politically Correct (PC) 'Liberal' or 'Progressive' Left, and there are obvious personal reasons for this (viz his personal involvement in the Gay Movement), and in my view, this PC Left can be distinguished easily from any genuinely revolutionary Left by its illusions about the 'progressive' possibilities of Western society at large:
(1) Such people do not recognise that (to speak very frankly), the US and its cohorts are somewhat worse than the Nazis and the Stalinists rolled into one. Consequently, they do not recognise that any anti-Western or merely non-Western regime (that is, any regime not abjectly slavish to US dictates) is a priori worth defending.
(2) Conversely, they do not recognise that any supposedly 'progressive', 'liberal' 'revolutions', such as the various Twitter Springs referred to as 'Arab Springs', are phony. Such 'liberal' 'progressive' 'nonviolent' 'revolutions' will in fact, if successful, lead to pro-US 'austerity' regimes and occupation by NATO troops, along with a few fig-leaf speeches in Washington about 'protecting women & gays'.
(3) The PC Left also do not recognise that in reality, 'women and gays' will not be protected at all, but on the contrary, having been politicised and identified with Western imperialism, they will become targets in ways they never were before. Most hypocritically and deceptively, they will be targeted by the very Islamist forces that are in reality working covertly for the West.

Your crocodile tears for the crimes that your beloved Assadi regime committed and are committing in Lebanon and Syria are an utter joke coming from a lying ultra-sectarian who wants to liberate Palestine with the scorched earth tactics of Assad. I forgot, according to this munafiq shabeeh, Hamas is more treacherous than Iran's thuwar Nato.

It's nice to see old Abu Omar again. I find it very telling that, at some point, the illiterate Americans seem to have decided that the old transliteration of Arabic into English, that used i's and u's to represent the corresponding long vowel sounds, was too difficult, so now we have the supposedly phonetic transliteration "ee" and "oo" (eg, "shabeeh" instead of "shabih", "hudood" instead of "hudud", and of course "Deen" instead of "Din"). I suppose to be consistent Abu Omar should be writing "munafeeq" instead of "munafiq". To my eye, this makes the words concerned look very crude and silly. I admire the words as they were before.

This article is making some valid points. The enthusiasm for Palestinians to fight in Syria is rather bizarre, and seems to be sectarian in origin. The Syrian rebels are a Western backed group, who offer the Palestinians absolutely nothing in the long term.

The sectarian, radical Sunni organization - Hamas did the "dirt" on Syria and backed the agencies and states which caused the "nakba" in the first place? These religious fanatics/terrorists are now hiding in the refugee camps behind innocent women and children and eating their food. Rise up and throw them out at once! http://rt.com/op-edge/syria-cia-links-hezbollah-293/. Their inspiration and fellow sectarian/sexist organization (the Muslim. Brotherhood) in Egypt led by Mohammed Morsi tried to impose Sharia law before he got kicked out. Just two weeks before Morsi was locked up he was encouraging young Egyptian Men and boys on state TV to go to Syria and join the "jihad". Stop hiding behind religious mythology, women and children. Palestinians were and still are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, gay and lesbian, are of all beliefs including none; not just Islamic fundamentalist-fanatics who threaten anybody who insults their phrophets.

In the entire history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not once have we heard of a Palestinian (not even in Gaza) starving to death at least Israel has more compassion, and always allowed basic food into the areas of conflict. In the last week there were 40 Palestinians that starved to death in Yarmouk because of the Syrian army siege. Funny thing is that the Syrian army and Hezbollah both claim to be the "protectors of the Palestinian people and Palestine", hehe.

we don't see the Palestinian people or their "Arab" friends helping Palestine. We saw the Palestinians in Lebanon when Israel invaded they were the first to run leaving their weapons behind and retrieved themselves from their military uniforms for civilian. The only people to stand ground and resist were Haraket amal. Not to mention the numerous spies inside the PLO leadership. Israel more "compassionate" they hit you with weapons against international laws, and not starving Gaza whats the blockade for then just have to fun in their spare time, if wasn't for Syria, Iran and Hezbollah for help of building tunnels, Gaza would've been another desert like the countries conspiring against Palestine.

"They should admit that Palestinians in Syria enjoyed advantages that their counterparts were deprived of in every corner of the world – advantages not even enjoyed in Gaza and the West Bank. In Syria, Palestinians were citizens." And therefore they should be thankful that they are being starved to death, killed and bombed just like their Syrian borthers... is that it?
"And the road to Palestine doesn’t pass through Damascus."
A small correction : And the road to Palestine doesn’t pass [just] through Damascus but through all the Arab capitals.

Tel al-Zataar (and Karantina) were results of what appears to have been a determination by Assad Père to avoid Lebanon being split in half, between Christian fascists on the one side and assorted Muslim leftists on the other. That is the permanent danger of Lebanon, which is precisely why the colonial powers created it. The colonial powers deliberately peeled off a portion of Ottoman Syria of precisely a size which would guarantee its permanent ungovernability. If they had wanted to create a purely or even predominantly Christian satrapy, they would have made it smaller. The only logical solution is actually to reabsorb Lebanon into Syria and undo the colonialist mischief - which of course requires a thorough secular and as far as possible socialist approach, undercutting the appeal of the petit-bourgeois religio-ethnic movements, if it is not to lead to renewed rebellions and massacres. Whatever happens to your states, it is because they have been designed by the colonial powers to be ungovernable, insofar as the colonial powers were able to ensure that outcome. Their legacy to you is precisely that you should be divided for as long as possible by mutual hatred and contempt.

Thats your pathetic reply to the Assadi wars against the Palestinian resistance you honky shabeeh, the only reason Assad Pere and Assad Jr. were and still are in power is because of the Alawi collaboration and treachery with the French colonialists.

"Be grateful that your children are being starved, tortured, bombed and shot by a pro-Palestinian leader. It would be terrible if they were slaughtered and starved by a zionist who didn't make nice speeches while he protects the occupied Golan for Tel Aviv just like his father."

Did you tell the survivors in Tal Zaatar the same thing in 1976 when it was Bashar's father ordering the starving and slaughter of thousands of Palestinian men, women and children? "Be grateful that your children are being murdered by an anti-zionist - he makes great speeches about opposing zionism."


I think HAMAS unthankfulness is due to its hidden sectarian mentality, that has exposed with the Syrian crisis.

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