The London-based organization Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) recently released a report documenting the effect of the Syrian civil war on that country’s Palestinian population, noting that the number of dead has now reached 4,013. While Palestinians have fought alongside Bashar al-Assad’s forces and against them, most of the suffering was inflicted by the Assad regime and its allies, as Khaled Abu Toameh writes:
AGPS estimated the number of Palestinians who have died of torture in Syrian prisons at 614. Another 205 Palestinians died as a result of lack of proper medical treatment and medicine because of the Syrian army’s siege on the Yarmouk refugee camp, the group said.
Another 311 Palestinians were killed by sniper gunfire, 142 in various bombings, 92 in “extrajudicial killings” by the Syrian authorities and its proxy groups, and 315 who were executed or died of suffocation and arson incidents. At least 52 Palestinians are believed to have drowned while trying to reach Europe.
Alarmed by the world’s continuing indifference toward the plight of the Palestinians in Syria in general and that of journalists in particular, AGPS denounced the “apathy of the international community and Palestinian leadership.”
That apathy, notes Abu Toameh, is shared by the many groups and individuals who call themselves pro-Palestinian. To him, the explanation is straightforward: “these Palestinians’ problems cannot be blamed on Israel.” He adds:
They are being killed and tortured in an Arab country, by their own brothers, and as far as the world is concerned, as long as there is no way to hold Israel responsible, it is fine for Arabs to commit atrocities against their Palestinian brothers.