As the conflict in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria enters its 200th day, the United States Palestinian Community Network’s (USPCN’s) National Coordinating Committee expresses great concern regarding the escalating crisis. USPCN calls on all parties to allow aid into the camp to meet the humanitarian needs of the refugees there. We call for an end to the hostilities in the camp, and for food and medical supplies to be delivered immediately to those in need.
Our Palestinian compatriots have been caught up in the ongoing Syrian conflict and paying for it with their lives, as over 30 have already died from malnourishment and freezing temperatures. We must not forget our refugees, nor why they are in Yarmouk to begin with: the ethnic cleansing and displacement at the hands of the Israeli government that forced them to flee their rightful and original homes in 1948 and again in 1967. We hold Israel accountable for the situation of the residents of Yarmouk, because it is Israeli policies that ultimately deny the Palestinians their Right of Return to the original homes and land from which they were forced. And we again demand this Right for Yarmouk and all Palestinian refugees around the world.
Until the Right of Return is realized for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, we demand that the safety and well-being of them all be upheld wherever they may live. It is with this view that we call on all parties involved to immediately uphold the agreement of the Palestinians in Yarmouk itself: that the armed groups hiding in the camp must exit, and that the siege of the camp must end immediately. In addition, we call for appropriate support from the United Nations to ensure safe entry for the immediate introduction of food, relief aid, and medicine to the camp. And of course, we recognize the dire costs of the current fighting to our beloved Syrian people. As we have made clear throughout the Syria crisis, USPCN supports a diplomatic solution, and calls for an immediate cease fire and an end to U.S. and other foreign intervention in the conflict.
Lastly, the tragedy of Yarmouk proves yet again that the Abbas regime, the Palestinian Authority, and even the Palestine Liberation Organization (which Abbas also nominally controls as its Chairman) are unable to function effectively to protect the interests of the people they supposedly represent. As we all know in urgent situations such as these, silence is a form of acquiescence, and inaction a form of injustice. Instead of ensuring the safety and well-being of Palestinians everywhere, Abbas, with no legitimacy or popular support, instead continues to pursue a failed policy of negotiations with Israel. We reaffirm our call for an immediate end to negotiations, and the establishment of a re-formed and legitimate PLO, a truly representative body for the Palestinian people that can protect our rights and works in our interest.
We urge all supporters of a Free Palestine and the rights of its Refugees to contact the PLO Observer to the United Nations, Dr. Riyad Mansour, and urge him to press the UN to allow third party NGOs access to the camp in order to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation.
Dr. Riyad Mansour
Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations
115 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065
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Honorable Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon,
The Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria is facing a dangerous siege, and over thirty Palestinian refugees have already died of malnourishment and freezing temperatures. With a population of 20,000, the camp is in immediate need of humanitarian assistance to alleviate incredibly harsh conditions caused by the siege.
We urge you to pressure all sides to cease the conflict and halt hostilities inside the camp. We also ask you to assist the International Red Cross, as delegated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to securely enter the camp and provide vital assistance to the refugees, in the form of food, medicine, blankets, and other necessities.
These refugees have not only been denied their Right of Return to their original homes and lands due to Israeli aggression, but are now starving to death in a host country that has been a source of their livelihood for many decades.
We urge you to act now to alleviate the harshness of the winter on these Palestinian refugees of Yarmouk.
City, State, Country