Palestine is about more than a death toll.

The regions of Israel and Palestine have had a long, turbulent and complicated past, especially in the last decade. We have seen the public and global debate over the situation grow even more polarised, perhaps more so than ever before over the past week as the global media seems to have recovered from it’s post-ISIS feast of coverage hangover. One of the central aspects to this increasingly vicious debate, that is consistently referenced, and recently it seems to form the crux of pro-Palestinian arguments, is that Israel’s death toll is “excessively large” and the fact Israel have suffered no casualties means that Israel’s response to Palestine has been “disproportionate.”

This pithy daily dispatch will try to tell you why most pro-Palestinians seem to show their true, anti-Israeli colours with this logic, which seems to forget a far larger threat to the Palestinian people. There is a very simple reasons why it seems that it is a poor argument to argue that Israel are the main aggressor on this basis of the death toll who use “disproportionate responses.”

If it is the number of Palestinian casualties of Israeli action that really matters to many pro-Palestinians, then why have they remained silent on the massive threat that Bashir Al-Assad poses to the Palestinian population?

So far this year, Assad has starved 130,000 Palestinians in Yarmouk refugee encampment to death. Assad, therefore, in one move since 2011 has killed more Palestinians than Israel have killed since 1948. There is more than just the actions in Yarmouk camp, airstrikes and massacres have all been recorded by multiple sources like the New York Times and Haaretz.

In the article about Yarmouk, it seems Avi Issacharoff rightly argues the majority of the pro-Palestinian camp seem to show the following feelings to the atrocities in Syria:

As long as Arabs are killing Arabs, it’s okay.

Yet it seems that little has been said or done on the issue by the pro-Palestinians, who’s vested interests are apparently trying to save Palestinians from “the biggest threat to their people in the Middle East. ” Is that a democracy that defends itself from rocket attacks, while sometimes with regrettably high casualties, or is that a vicious, fascistic regime that engage in acts that have defied multiple chemical weapons conventions. I am not saying that Israel or perfect, or that some of their military interventionism needs more consideration, especially in some of the most densely populated areas of Palestine. Both sides need to consider the lives of innocents far more, my friend and colleague Julie Lenarz, Executive Director at the Humanitarian Intervention Centre, reminds both sides of their obligations to the international community to adhere to international conflict conventions.

All parties have to be reminded of their obligation under international humanitarian law to spare the lives of the innocent.

Another colleague of mine at a the Humanitarian Intervention Centre, Dr. Dwayne Menezes, rightly argues this point in their latest press-release:

How is it that people who are otherwise apolitical, apathetic or comparatively silent when it comes to atrocities perpetrated in other Middle Eastern states so ferociously concerned and vocal when Israel enters the scene? The inconsistencies, to me, suggest that the outrage over Palestinian civilian casualties has less to do with the tragic loss of human lives than it has to do with one’s political predispositions towards Israel.

I think the conclusion, however, is deafening and I don’t think that is why there is such a silence around Syria’s actions from those pro-Palestinians who seem to forget the plight of their own people when it’s not Israel that is the perpetrator.


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