1948 Palestinians Torn Over Syria

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Palestinian demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Gaza City 21 February 2012. (Photo: REUTERS - Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

By: Faris Taleb

Published Monday, March 5, 2012

Haifa – None of the past year’s events in the Arab world has preoccupied 1948 Palestinians as much as the crisis in Syria – specifically, what will happen and what position to take. No other issue has been as divisive as this one.

The debate over Syria begins with loaded questions. “Are you with the regime in Syria, or with the conspiracy against it?” ask the regime’s backers. Supporters of the revolution ask back: “Are you with the people or the regime? Do you support the massacres?”

The dispute is far from abating and nobody has thus far conducted a survey to determine the proportion of “loyalists” and “opposition.” But Palestinians within the Green Line clearly do not stand united on the issue.

Quarrels over it led to violence in Haifa last Saturday, when a pro-regime rally in solidarity with Syria was held. Some youth opposed to the event held a counter-demonstration, and were subject to verbal and then physical abuse coming from the pro-regime demonstrators.

Supporters of the regime highlight its Arab nationalist credentials. “If Syria goes, the resistance goes, and Israel would be delighted,” one participant at the event remarked. They argue that the regime is the target of a Saudi- and Qatari-led conspiracy because of its anti-imperialist stance. But they seem unperturbed by President Bashar Assad’s response to the supposed conspiracy. Some even privately urge him to persist with his harsh security crackdown.

In the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights, a commemoration of a general strike against Israeli occupation turned into a pro-Assad rally. But many locals had mixed feelings.

“I don’t have any problem with people supporting the regime,” said one its opponents, adding, “But what we’re witnessing today is that many regime supporters go further than talking of a conspiracy. They call for the bloody ‘security solution’ against the people. For me, this crosses a line.”

When asked about his own view, he says, “The problem is not what does America support. The issue is what do the people want. The people said that months ago when they got sick of living without dignity.”

It can seem strange sometimes. People who used to be known for their opposition to the “dictatorial” regime before the uprising now support it against “the conspiracy” and “the conspirators” targeting Syria. How did this happen? Is it truly about conspiracy or dislike of those who are opposing the regime? And how can the regime’s opponents so readily be labelled “agents”? Agents of whom?

The Syrian situation is extremely complex. There is no consensus over it as there was in favor of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions.

Nobody knows where Syria or the region are headed. Whatever happens, neither Assad nor Qatar are any longer held in the high regard they once were.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


Nice to see some Pals arguing sensibly.

maybe when the assad regime is gone the deal it has with israel goes with it, and golan heights can be freed!

ok i'll ask the residents massacred in tal il za3tar, oh yea i forgot they're all dead thank to assad's regime! my comment will probably not be disregarded by the palestinians who were refugees in lebanon back then... and it wont be disregarded by palestinians surprised by the regime backstabbing them and recognizing israel by supporting the UN bid and a 2 state solution!!! it will not be ignored by those in golan heights who felt betrayed by this opressive regime over and over and over... syria might be the country that treats palestinian refugees best out of all countries, that doesn't make it any less oppressive than it really is.... assad regime might have used the palestnian struggle and cause to gain support of many, but that doesnt make it any less hypocritical... facts are the assad regime has always been oppressive, and corruption in this regime is HUGE and cannot be denied or ignored... when in deraa it arrests 13 year olds and tells there parents to go make other ones, and dosnt even punish or do anything about that cop ... this is an oppressive regime, so are most regimes in the world, but the majority have better PR offices... and dont take 13 year olds writing on blackboards that seriously!!!!

Estoy de acuerdo con POWER TO THE PEOPLE, Bashar al Asad debe caer como Khadafy, , las masas de seria no deben quedar aisladas, PAREMOS LA MASACRE, armas para las masas siria, lo unicos que pueden romper el aislamiento es la clase obrera uy sus organizaciones de luchas a nivel internacional, VIVA LOS LUCHADORES PALESTINOS QUE MARCHAN A FAVOR DE SUS HERMANOS QUE COMBATEN EN SIRIA!los luchadores obreros y popularesde Medio Oriente , de Libia Egipto Tunez, deben entrar a combatir a Siria ,es el mejor camino tambien para liberar al pueblo palestino ,del Estado fascista de Israel,

I don't know what massacres you're talking about. I'm Palestinian living in Syria and we are treated better than any other Palestinian refugees in any other part of the world. Your comment has no basis or any factual content and is going to be disregarded by most. Ask any Palestinian refugee where Palestinians have been treated best for years and they will tell you Syria.

And im a palestinian refugee in Lebanon and I can tell you that, the syrian regime have killed more from us then israel did! So speak for yourself!

the Assad regime has worked along with the phalangists and massacred 3000 in tall il za'tar rfugee camp in lebanon, the assad regime has more palestinian prisoners than israel does in thei jails, the assad regime hasn't shot or attempted to free golan heights and instead is using it's army against it's own people, the assad regime has attacked the refugee camp inv lathkiya shooting everything that has moved blindly. the assad regime has massacred many palestinians after inviting them from jordan after the black september, the assad regime has never supported palestinian resistance for real, in fact it helped stop it, the assad regime hasn;t allowed palestinians fleeing iraq from the iraqi-syrian border into syria as refugees meanwhile it accepted iraqis, the current assad regime has suddenly for the first time accpeted a 2 state solution last september on the 1967 border lines which is very hypocritical, and mostly the assad regime is oppressive and massacring its own people, and palestine's brothers and sisters everyday in cold blood... whats coming after this regime could be a lot worse, that doesnt give u the right to defend a murderous oppressive regime.... down with assad regime, down with nato!!! POWER TO THE PEOPLE

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