by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is not only the Arabs and the Palestinian governments who are turning a blind eye to the mass displacement of Palestinians. Human rights organizations and the mainstream media in the West are also ignoring the plight of the Palestinians. This is, after all, a story that lacks an anti-Israel angle.More than 55,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee Syria to Lebanon and Jordan over the past two years, according to figures released by the United Nations Work and Relief Agency [UNRWA].
According to Palestinian sources, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in Syria, most in recent months, by both the rebels and the Syrian army.
Most of the Palestinians who fled Syria have found shelter in neighboring Lebanon, where more than 500,000 Palestinians live in several refugee camps in different parts of the country.
It is worth noting that Palestinians in Lebanon are subjected to apartheid laws that deny them work, social and health benefits, and freedom of movement.
UNRWA now estimates that approximately 235,000 Palestinians have been displaced inside Syria since the beginning of the conflict two years ago.
Just two weeks ago, some 6,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in Ein al-Tal, a refugee camp near Aleppo in northern Syria.
This was not the only UNRWA-run refugee camp in Syria to be targeted by both the opposition and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
"Ein al-Tal is the latest manifestation of a cycle of catastrophic violence in which the conduct of all parties has transformed refugee camps into theaters of conflict in which heavy weapons are used, resulting in severe suffering for Palestinian civilians," UNRWA said in a statement. "Palestinian refugees in Syria are being killed, injured and displaced in greater numbers than even before."
And what have the Palestinians' two governments – Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank – done to help the displaced Palestinians? Almost nothing, according to the displaced families.
What have the Arab countries done to help the Palestinians fleeing Syria? Almost nothing.
Neither the Palestinian governments nor the Arab countries has even asked for an emergency UN Security Council session to discuss the new Palestinian tragedy.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is too busy touring the world and fighting with his prime minister, Salam Fayyad.
The Hamas government is too busy inciting Palestinians and preparing for the next wave of terror attacks against Israel.
As for the Arab countries, why should they care about Palestinians when hundreds of Syrians are being killed every day and no one in the Arab world seems to care?
It is no secret that most of the Arab governments despise the Palestinians and continue to treat them as third-class residents and a potential threat to Arabs' national security.
The Arab League foreign ministers who recently met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington did not even bother to raise the issue of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were forced out of their homes in Syria.
For these ministers and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, construction in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank is more urgent than the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.
But it is not only the Arabs and the Palestinian governments who are turning a blind eye to the mass displacement of Palestinians. Human rights organizations and the mainstream media in the West are also ignoring the plight of the Palestinians. This is, after all, a story that lacks an anti-Israel angle.
Khaled Abu Toameh
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