Reports on Syria have become a public commodity in the political conversation regarding Israel/Palestine, and the Palestinian refugees in Syria have become an object in a debate, not living people that need urgent help.
It’s not unusual for any report on a wrongdoing by the IDF in the occupied territories to be received here with comments such as: “why don’t you write Syria instead?” Or, when a report on a massacre in Syria does surface, someone is only to eager to use it to improve Israel’s image, in some sick, relativist fashion.
A rather funny – or tragic, depending on what you think – example was when Likud MK Ophir Akunis attacked the Israeli organization Physicians for Human Rights for criticizing the Israeli government “but saying nothing about Syria.” Only that PHR did talk about Syria – several times. Akunis, who blocked the Facebook commenters who tried to state this fact on his page, wasn’t really interested in the Syrians, but in the delegitimization of the struggle for the rights of Palestinians under Israeli control.
The same goes for many other such comments. And when one does write about the Palestinians who are being killed in Syria, the responses are usually along the lines of “what makes the Palestinians so special? write about the rest of the population!” and so on. At the same time, I am also surprised by the relative indifference for the plight of Palestinian refugees in the civil war by those supporting their cause on other fronts. Where are the mass protests against the brutal, inhuman policy of the Jordanian government, which lets Syrian refugees in but sends the Palestinians back?
Naturally, I think Israel should be the first to help Palestinian refugees in trouble, for obvious historical reasons. With the current political trends here, such hopes are beyond science fiction, and even an honest debate is impossible.