Tuesday, August 05, 2008

5-Aug-08: Refugees?

We've never quite understood how it is that so many bashers-of-Israel refuse to see the malevolence and fratricidal character that infects Arab society in general, and especially Palestinian-Arab society. It stares them in the face. But they'll turn it on its head time and again if that's what it takes to blame "the Zionists".

As bitter as their endless complaints are against Israel, against the Jews, against the west, against the weather, Israel's enemies suffer far more from their own brothers, from their own leaders and from the deep problems of their own societies than from any external cause.

Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian who writes for the Jerusalem Post, consistently sees and reports things that almost no one else does. Trouble is, these things are so embarrassing to the Palestinian Arabs and their fellow-travelers, that Abu Toameh's stories get a tiny fraction of the media exposure they deserve.

He wrote this week on the strange refusal of the Palestinian Authority to receive and shelter the Fatah 'activists' who fled Gaza on Saturday with Hamas bullets and mortars whizzing past their heads. No aspect of this, the insightful journalist says, came as a surprise to many Palestinians.

The PA's inner circle in Ramallah turned to Israel on Sunday to ask that Fatah men fleeing for their lives from the Gaza Strip be sent right back home. Abu Toameh says that, though this is "tantamount to a death sentence", it "did not stop the PA from asking the men to return" to Gaza.

After reciting some of the plainly dishonest reasons given by the Abu Mazen clique to justify their stand, Abu Toameh says:
"The last thing Abbas needs is another 180 bitter Fatah thugs from the Gaza Strip patrolling the streets of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus and imposing a reign of terror on the local population... The Palestinians in the West Bank have never been enthusiastic about the presence of their brethren from the Gaza Strip among them... Arafat deployed dozens of policemen from the Gaza Strip [back in 1994] in a number of West Bank cities. This resulted in an "intifada" by the residents of these cities, many of whom openly rejected the presence of the Gazans in their communities... West Bank families refused to rent out apartments to the "undesirables" from the Gaza Strip. The experience was repeated in June 2007 when hundreds of Fatah members fled the Gaza Strip following Hamas's violent takeover of the area. Most of those who arrived in Ramallah are still finding it impossible to rent apartments in the city... Even the 150 Fatah men who fled to Egypt following the Hamas takeover have not been welcome there or in any other Arab country. In a recent letter to Abbas, the Fatah men, all former residents of the Gaza Strip, complained that they were being held in "military bases" belonging to the Egyptian army and were being treated as criminals rather than political refugees."
The always-on-the-mark British columnist Melanie Phillips, writing this week in The Statesman, says the events of the last few days
have given a new meaning to the term ‘Palestinian refugees’... 11 people died and dozens more were wounded, [resulting] in 180 Fatah refugees fleeing from what they called a ‘war of genocide’ by Hamas against Fatah supporters. And where did they flee to? Why, to Israel, of course -- which allowed them in and proceeded to treat 23 of them (some of whom were wounded by the Israeli army after they approached the crossing into Israel) in Israeli hospitals. These refugees say they cannot return to Gaza because they will be killed.
She lays out the logic for anyyone wanting to try to figure it out:
Palestinians committed to the destruction of Israel fled from other Palestinians committed to the destruction of Israel into Israel, which is providing them with sanctuary and medical treatment, while the president of their putative state who bases his claim against Israel on its alleged refusal to admit Palestinian ‘refugees’ refused to allow actual Palestinian refugees fleeing Palestinian violence access to that same putative state, while Israel agonises over whether to grant them permanent asylum.
And did we mention that at least 12 of those who were wounded in Saturday's fighting were under the age of 15?

For those of us completely fed up to the back teeth with the agenda-driven and less-than-honest reporting and editing of non-objective writers, photographers and headline-crafters, it remains only to quote Melanie Phillips again:
What is that unfamiliar sound emanating from all those who routinely scream that Israel kills Palestinian children? It is called silence.
For those of our readers connected to ISM, AFP, BBC and especially UNRWA - you're invited to send us clippings and links to show how we've missed the mark. We'll be waiting.

No comments: