Beyond the Cusp

April 16, 2017

Palestinian Communities Slaughtered

 

In the past decade there have been a number of Palestinian communities completely destroyed and many of the civilians residing in these camps put under bombardment killing untold numbers. The media has barely noticed these events despite their being reported in local news. Mahmoud Abbas and the other Palestinian leadership in the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Hamas and other leadership in both Gaza and Judea and Samaria have said nothing. They have had no reaction what so ever. Judging from their silence one would believe that these Palestinians meant nothing to the Palestinian leadership. What could have been the reason behind their silence? Further, there have been no dire reports or protests across Europe. Usually the Europeans react quite vehemently to even the slightest hint of any acts against Palestinians even with no proof of actual abuse. Why nothing coming from the Europeans with the destruction of these Palestinian communities? There has been almost no reaction from the United Nations or the plethora of their organizations that monitor human rights and the Palestinians community health whenever there are any suspicions of Israeli misdeeds. Yet these attacks have garnered no reactions whatsoever. That raises the question of why the quiet when these Palestinians have been slaughtered, their homes destroyed, their communities destroyed and those fortunate to survive sent homeless wandering the countryside with little if any hope for their future. Where are the cries of horror over these events?

 

What has not made the news has been the attacks by the Syrian military, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezballah forces in Syria and Lebanon on the Palestinian camps and communities located in these nations. You might remember the news about attacks by Bashir al-Assad using barrel bombs, fifty-five gallon barrel sized explosive device filled with nuts, bolts, screws and nails often soaked with poisons designed to inflict the most horrific injuries to those it does not murder, on civilians. Well, what the news did not bother to inform the world about was that the majority of those attacks were against the largest Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. These camps were located in Homs, Deraa, Jaramana, Khan Eshieh, Qabr Essit, and others across all of Syria. Many of these camps have all but disappeared from the face of Syria with very few refugees remaining there, mostly old and sick who were unable of leaving. Bashir al-Assad claimed that the Palestinians, who are Sunni, had risen up against him and his Shia allies joining the terrorists which he was fighting in the beginning of the civil war and since. This was his excuse for attempting to eradicate these camps and the people trapped within. These attacks have continued periodically ever since getting less coverage with each attack as if it comes under covered that and it is old news. Anyways, these Palestinians are being slaughtered by other Arabs; we cannot blame Israel so it really does not matter.

 

Now the violence against Palestinians has spread to Lebanon. Over the past week fighting has spread across the Ein el-Hilweh camp outside Sidon. The violence has lasted much of the past week with a ceasefire finally being reached over the weekend and security forces provided by Fatah presumably are now in control of the camp and the violence has quieted for now. The news reports all make the same references that Fatah Palestinian forces are engaged with radical Islamists without making any further identification of exactly who these radical Islamists might be. One can only wonder why there has been no further identification as seen in the captions of the pictures below from the Associated Press. The one name used was reported in the demands by Palestinian Security Forces demanding that the Islamist fighter Bilal Badr surrender to authorities. A resident reported that parts of the camp suffered damage from shelling. This creates a threatening picture as the Palestinian Security Forces do not reportedly have artillery or other heavy weapons larger than RPG’s. Many of the refugees have attempted fleeing the camp largely being held in Mosques hoping to return to their homes and praying they have homes to return to. An AFP correspondent has reported that the refugee camp has suffered major damage with a number of residents having been trapped inside their homes throughout the fighting. UNWRA has begun attempting to return the camp to some degree of normalcy with dozens of young people volunteering on Friday to clean the streets of damage and rubble left by the fighting. The camp reportedly is home to over fifty-thousand Palestinians refugees including at least six-thousand Syrian refugees fleeing that violence only to now suffer more Arab on Arab violence.

 

A member of the Palestinian Fatah Movement fires an RPG during clashes that erupted between the Palestinian Fatah Movement and Islamists in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Sunday, April 9, 2017. Ein el-Hilweh, the largest of 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, is notorious for its lawlessness and is home to some extremists who sympathize with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

A member of the Palestinian Fatah Movement fires an RPG during clashes that erupted between the Palestinian Fatah Movement and Islamists in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Sunday, April 9, 2017. Ein el-Hilweh, the largest of 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, is notorious for its lawlessness and is home to some extremists who sympathize with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

 

Smokes rise during a clashes between the Palestinian Fatah Movement and Islamists in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Sunday, April 9, 2017. Ein el-Hilweh, the largest of 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, is notorious for its lawlessness and is home to some extremists who sympathize with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Smokes rise during a clashes between the Palestinian Fatah Movement and Islamists in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Sunday, April 9, 2017. Ein el-Hilweh, the largest of 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, is notorious for its lawlessness and is home to some extremists who sympathize with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

 

This story will receive slim coverage, perhaps a blurb between the closing commercials and credits on the hourly news cycle once or twice every few days, a story almost in passing as an afterthought. Why has the slaughter of Palestinian Arabs in refugee camps in the thousands over the last five years escaped major coverage by the media in the Western media, especially the liberal media in the United States and across Europe? Where have the urgent demands emanating from the United Nations with cries of hysterias over the murder of these innocents, and Palestinian civilians even? Why no top of the fold, bold, two inch headlines in the New York Times telling of the slaughter of these Palestinians who want no more than to be allowed to live in peace and seek work? Perhaps the reasons are simple; Israel is completely missing from this picture. These are Palestinian Arabs behind barbed wire, refused the right to work in most professions, especially outside the camps, refused permission for normalization into the population despite the fact that a number of these refugees have families residing outside the camps who are citizens of Lebanon and also in Syria though many of them are now refugees themselves from the Syrian conflict. These are the forgotten Palestinian Arab refugees who only count as part of the presumed five to eight million refugees descendants of the original seven-hundred-thousand refugees, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and perhaps also great-great-grandchildren all forced to remain in the camps where their children will also be forced to live presumably permanently. These camps are home to the only refugees in the world who became refugees by heredity never to be permitted to merge with the society with which they share history, language, religion and often have relatives residing in the very nations refusing to permit their normalization. Why are these people being tortured in this way? They are the Arab weapon which they hope will destroy Israel when their demands that they be granted residence and citizenship in Israel and then vote in an Arab government which will destroy the Jewish population and end the Jewish State. The news will not report this either because to any normal mind this is beyond acceptable and borderline ridiculous. Their being murdered by other Arabs is not new, not of any consequence to the Arab world and unwanted by their own people but the world will some day declare war on Israel because Israel will refuse to accept these refugees as a problem Israel must solve. Israel sees this situation as what it is, an Arab problem and a sign of their neuroses. And that problem continues anew with more bombings and fighting in Syria which threatens to return to Lebanon as well.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 2, 2012

Syria vs. Israel; The Stories of Homs and Jenin

The violence in Syria gives the world, especially those who accuse Israel of using undue force and genocide, a chance to clearly differentiate between real indiscriminate use of military force to maximize casualties against limited, focused and precise force implemented to protect the innocent. Syria is the example of indiscriminate force being implemented with total disregard for the innocents and noncombatants while Israel during their Operation Defensive Shield which targeted terrorist training and storage areas while also taking known terror operatives into custody used precise and limited force in order to allow differentiation between combatants and innocents. We will compare these two military interventions using the primary city in which the conflict was focused, Homs in the current civil war in Syria and Jenin in the Israeli Defensive Shield operation used to combat terror activities.

 

Let us look at the quasi-similarities between these two uses of military force within an urban environment. In both cases the battlefield was within densely populated urban residential neighborhoods. In both battles command had to weigh the choice between the safety of the troops under their command and the safety of any innocent residents and bystanders to what had been decided was a necessary attack. The residents and bystanders had been informed of the coming battle and were given the necessary time and a safe route in order to allow them to leave after being checked for weapons and explosive devices. This is where the initial setup for these two engagements ends. In Jenin it was known that there were ambushes and booby-traps set in the vast majority of structures and the PLO forces were well armed and had spent weeks preparing the field to their advantage in order to inflict the maximum casualties on the Israeli troops. In Homs most of the people within the area being attacked by Assad forces are unarmed civilians. The areas in Homs under attack are not booby-trapped, or so it has been reported. The area has not been carefully prepared for repelling a military offensive and the residents and bystanders have been given no quarter or opportunity to leave the conflicted area.

 

The real differences become most evident when the means of engagement are scrutinized. The IDF could have very easily taken the option to use air strikes combined with artillery, tank and other indirect fire methods in order to flatten the entire area and inflict maximum casualties without regard for who was killed. This option was ruled out as being irresponsible and as risking the death or injury of too many innocents. Instead, the IDF chose to use ground forces sending in ground troops with orders to engage only armed opponents and giving any civilians found within the area of operations free passage to safety. This cost the IDF 23 soldiers killed and 52 soldiers wounded and on the Palestinian side it was reported that 53 people were killed which broke down as consisting of 48 militants and 5 civilians. This stands in stark contrast to the casualties in Homs. The Syrian forces have stood off and shelled the neighborhoods of Homs with artillery, mortars, tank main gun fire, and using snipers. This has led to approximately three hundred estimated killed with the majority having been unarmed civilians who fall into three categories, protestors, participants in a funeral procession, or completely innocent bystanders or residents of the areas under attack. Reports have claimed that many of the innocent unarmed casualties in Homs over the months of conflict were intentionally targeted despite their being obviously unarmed and not taking part in any anti-Assad government activities. The difference between these two military operations was that the Israeli forces did everything within their control including risking additional casualties among IDF troops in order to minimize innocent civilian injury or death while the Syrian forces under President Assad have shown no regard or differentiation between combatants and civilians often intentionally targeting unarmed civilians presumably to increase the pressures on the popular anti-Assad forces by their actions.

 

The final difference between these two instances of use of military forces against irregular opposition forces was the reaction by the rest of the world. Where Israel was found guilty of heinous war crimes even before the battle had concluded by Human Rights Watch and other NGOs, the denunciations of Syrian forces took months before they were voiced. The initial reaction to the violence in Syria was sympathy for President Assad who was lauded as a reformer who had been forced by the opposition into implementing his military forces. Eventually, almost six to nine months later, did the beginning of calls for an end to the killing and doubts about the intent and reasons behind the use of force by Assad begin to surface. With the IDF action in Jenin the initial casualty count was inflated each day after the attack until by weeks end some were accusing Israeli forces of having murdered thousands of innocent civilians. These claims were eventually investigated by the United Nations who confirmed the total numbers of casualties which had been reported by the IDF but with a different breakdown on the numbers of armed terrorist combatants and innocent civilians. The numbers killed in Homs and throughout Syria have been estimated higher by the opposition against Assad than have been estimated by NGOs and official organizations including the United Nations. Somewhere around six to ten weeks ago those who had been keeping a running record of casualties in the Syrian government conflict with the rebel forces announced one-by-one stated they were no longer counting casualties. Thus far only muted attempts have been committed to ending the viscous violence tearing the fabric of Syrian society and disrupting the lives of the Syrian people. From the first hours of the IDF committing to Operation Defensive Shield there were demands from numerous fronts that Israel cease immediately. We are still waiting for such a unified and strong insistence for Assad to stop his offensive against his opposition. Israeli use of arms was in response to almost three years of Intifada with weekly and sometimes daily suicide bombings in arcades, pizza eateries, busses, the central bus terminal, and other places where Israeli civilians frequented in numbers. President Assad implemented a military response to what was initially peaceful demonstrations calling for reforms and giving the people more voice in their government. The stark differences are simply astounding and verge on beyond belief. Well, they would be if it was not for the fact that the side receiving more universal criticism was Israel, that removes any of the surprise and replaces it with revulsion, aversion, and an unwillingness to accept the ever-present double standards.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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