Al Yarmuk is a camp in the outskirts of war-torn Damascus. There are those who call it a refugee camp, meaning that all his residents are Palestinian refugees from 1948 and their direct descendants, while the reality is that the camp was established in 1957. It was never acknowledged by the Syrian regimes since then as a refugees camp, and Syrian regimes, as we know, have never missed an opportunity to score propaganda victories by relating everything bad under the sun to the "Zionist Entity." In fact, the neighborhood was ruled as part of the district of Damascus. Be that as it may, in the collective awareness of people, the camp became associated with the Palestinian tragedy, part of the conflict with Israel. As is customary in this conflict, names are always symbolic, part of the historic narrative, which has been so significant in the history of the conflict. Yarmuk was the scene of the battle in 636 A.D when the Arab-Muslim invaders defeated the army of the East Roman Empire, itself a foreign occupier of the land, and started their own occupation of the country they would later call Palestine. Not so relevant to today's situation? It is in the eye of the beholder.
In the Syrian civil war starting in 2011, the camp has become a zone of action. First, these were the rebels loyal to the Free Syrian Army [FSA] who cooperated with Palestinian factions, fighting against other Palestinian factions loyal to the Assad regime, which were backed by the Alawite-dominated Syrian army pro-Assad forces ended up losing, the Syria army entered into full-scale action, shelling indiscriminately the camp, besieging it and bringing about starvation, the spread of contagious diseases, in short bringing havoc to the place and its residents.
All this time, all the fighting parties there swore their allegiance to the Palestinian struggle against Israel, while massacring each other, mostly Palestinian residents. The UN is represented in the camp through the notorious anti-Israel Unrwa Agency, which made noises about the bad conditions in the camp, but to no avail. Who would listen to an outcry about the plight of Palestinians, when Israel is not involved?, when Israel cannot be blamed? Well, the tragedy got a turn to the worse in recent weeks, as ISIS fighters infiltrated the camp from the Hajar Al Aswad district of Damascus, trying to root out what is left of the pro-Assad elements, and when ISIS is in action, the news are bad, very bad.
The fighting soon became an all-out, free for all entanglement of all the various militias and Syrian army forces operating in the arena, with shuttering effects on the unarmed civilians in the camp. Unspeakable atrocities have taken place, though seem to have subsided in recent days. But alas, where is the pro-Palestinian community of the world? where is the International Solidarity Movement, the BDS movement, the Jewish voice for Peace, the partisans of Justice for Palestine[and pardon me all the other groups involved... limited space considerations prevent me from mentioning you]. Well, they are silent, and not because they do not know what is happening. They know it very well, as there is world-wide coverage of the carnage.
There is one simple reason why they do not care, and this is that they do NOT really care about the Palestinians. They care about Israel, in fact, for them caring about Israel means very simply doing whatever it takes to destroy Israel. Palestinians for them are an object, a tool of propaganda, a means serving the REAL end. Nothing more, nothing less. A tool. They make it so painfully clear as just these days they have resumed their calls to ''break the Zionist siege'' of Gaza. Gaza is a summer picnic compared with Yarmuk, with hundreds of trucks loaded with supplies crossing from Israel, and with unfulfilled promises from some oil-rich Arab countries to pump billions of dollars to reconstruct the area following the war of summer 2014.. It is Gaza for the pro-Palestinian community because it is about Israel. It is not Yarmuk, because it is not about Israel.
Sure, this blog does not argue that Gaza is not having a humanitarian problem. It does, and Israel may be able to do more to help. But Israel cannot help the Yarmuk situation,while it helps victims of the Syrian mayhem who cross the border. The pro-Palestinian community can, but they do not want.
Simple, sad and sobering lesson about Middle East realities.