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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Double standards?!

How many times have you seen a story in the major media claiming that Israel has turned Gaza into an “open-air prison?” How often does the media discuss seemingly arbitrary restrictions that Israel places on specific goods entering the Gaza Strip? Forget about the fact that convoys of trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter and leave the strip every day. Israel even transferred an emergency supply of gas for home heating during the recent winter storm.

The story of Israel blockading Palestinians is part of a narrative with which many journalists are obsessed - despite the lack of accuracy!  How much more useful these journalists would be if they reported on how Syria is starving Palestinians to death with a complete blockade on a refugee camp. But that is exactly what is happening. 

It is reliably reported that more than forty Palestinians have now died of starvation in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, say activists who are calling on the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to intervene. Three quarters of the dead have perished in the last three weeks as the situation in the camp, which is home to much of Syria’s Palestinian population, reaches a crisis point after six months of a crippling siege which have seen supplies of food and medical aid blocked from reaching the camp. Conditions in the refugee camp have become desperate since the full government siege began in July 2013. 

The blockade of the area has meant no aid has been able to reach the estimated 18,000 residents of the camp. Christopher Gunness of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees said it isn’t just the lack of food and medicine that is making the situation untenable for residents. “Residents are having to rely on going out on terraces and burning furniture and branches to warm themselves in the open because wood fires cannot be used indoors. There is a very infrequent supply of tap water – reportedly available for four hours only at intervals of three days.”

Israel’s attempts to control material that can be used for weapon making are labelled a “blockade.” Meanwhile, the Syrian Army starves  Palestinians to death and most of the media sit on their hands.

One is obliged to ask: "Why the double standard?"

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