A Polemic to Palestinian Victim-hood

Karma Nabulsi

How does Israel fare when it comes to its treatment of Palestinians compared to, for example, Syria?

Writing in The Guardian, Karma Nabulsi finds a way to make Israel equally culpable while arguing against Palestinian refugees “forfeiting” their “right of return.” She describes the harsh conditions of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East:

Forfeited if you consider what is now happening to the half a million Palestinian refugees in Syria without respite: entire refugee camps, established more than 65 years ago, utterly flattened; the people in them killed or having fled to safely elsewhere; other refugee camps under military siege for so many months that the people suffering in them are literally starving to death. Hundreds of thousands made refugees for the third or fourth time in their lives, spending the hard months of this past winter in the snow and rain, many without a tent or food, the children without a school or medical care, on the slopes of a Turkish hillside, crowded into already bursting camps in Lebanon, cordoned off under military jurisdiction in Jordan.

It is not all that different to the extreme pressures Palestinians are facing in Palestine, where everyone is more or less a refugee too.

Actually, it is very different to the conditions of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories, where people are certainly not being starved to death or have no access to shelter, food, education or medical care.

But why stop there? What about Israeli Arabs?

In what is now Israel, people internally displaced from their homes in 1947 and 1948 are living in villages that still have no electricity; in Jerusalem more Palestinian refugees are created every day by the Israeli military, as people are illegally thrown out of their ancestral homes.

And the West Bank and Gaza:

In the occupied West Bank, people’s homes are demolished each week. And, of course, in Gaza, where the density and length of the siege, the despair of any change by the people there (the majority of whom are refugees from 1948), and the silence on their collective predicament, is legendary.

And just to top it off, a reference to “the continuing disaster of ethnic cleansing.”

It clearly doesn’t suit the Palestinian narrative of blaming Israel when the suffering of Palestinian refugees is infinitely greater in neighboring Arab states. The answer according to Karma Nabulsi – attempt to portray Israel as equally or more responsible for the plight of the Palestinians.


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