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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776
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WATCH AND LEARN

Syria ‘Solving’ its Palestinian Problem and No One Seems to Mind

There have been no rallies in Europe or Berkeley, not even in Ramallah.

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If you ask me, the IDF leadership as well as the entire Netanyahu cabinet should adopt the Syrian army’s play book, or at least large chunks of it. Not because I wish to see increased Palestinian casualties, I really don’t, but rather because President Assad and his crew appear to be speaking fluent Palestinian.

More than 95 percent of the Palestinians who used to reside in the Yarmouk camp outside Damascus have fled under heavy shelling, the Palestinian ambassador to Syria said Tuesday, according to Ma’an.

Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, most living in Yarmouk, descendants of those admitted after the creation of Israel in 1948, and has always cast itself as a champion of the Palestinian struggle, sponsoring several guerrilla factions. In the current conflict, some fight against Assad, some against him. So government forces have used jets and artillery to soften the resistance. Some of the pro-Assad Palestinians appear to have been killed along with the rest.

Mahmud al-Khalidi told Ma’an that the refugees fled to UNRWA schools amid violent clashes between rebels and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On the border with Lebanon, hundreds of Palestinian families fled across the frontier following the weekend violence in Yarmouk, a Reuters witness said.

Rebel and Palestinian sources said Syrian rebels took full control of Yarmouk camp on Monday after fighting raged for days in the district on the southern edge of Damascus.

Now, here’s the zinger: no one minded. There have been no rallies in Europe or Berkley, not even in Ramallah. Instead, Ambassador Al-Khalidi said he had contacted the Syrian Foreign Ministry to request an end to air strikes on Yarmouk, but Syrian officials insisted rebels must leave the camp first.

Quietly, discreetly, behind the scene, could you please reduce somewhat the killing of our people at your earliest convenience?

Oh, man, I’m shepping nachas, again, not because Palestinians are getting killed, but because, for once, they’ve met a government who knows how to communicate with them successfully – and everyone appears satisfied. Even those folks getting butchered in the streets of Yarmouk appear to be totally cooperative.

Also, in all those encounters between the Syrian Army and the Palestinians I didn’t notice even one incident in which Palestinian teenagers pelted the Syrian soldiers with rocks. Amazing, how those Syrian soldiers elicit respect from those teenagers. It’s a gift, I’m telling you, a gift.

Here’s another nice point: President Mahmoud Abbas is monitoring the distribution of funds to refugees and has instructed al-Khalidi to provide housing for the displaced Palestinians, the ambassador said.

It’s so important that the president himself is taking an interest in the flow of Palestinian funds. They seem to appreciate it. I’ll bet you they’re utterly grateful for being allowed to keep some of those funds. I’ll bet you that none of them, say, Khalid Mashaal, would even dream of saying he’d like to see Assad removed from power – even if he is in favor of it. Because both Mashaal and Assad speak fluent Palestinian.

The battle in Yarmouk is one of a series of conflicts on the southern fringes of Assad’s capital, as rebels try to choke the power of the 47-year-old leader after a 21-month-old uprising in which 40,000 people have been killed.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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