JERUSALEM (JTA) – Arab-Israeli lawmaker Ahmed Tibi called the Islamic State takeover of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp “a crime against humanity.”
Tibi, a member of the Arab Joint List party, said on Monday that the international community, and Arab countries specifically, bear responsibility for allowing the violence in Yarmouk to occur.
More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed since the Islamic State took over about 90 per cent of the camp in the last week.
“I feel anger and great sadness about what is happening in what is left of the camp,” he said. “There is a moral double standard. If other people were the victims, not Palestinians, it would be different.”
Prior to the takeover, Yarmouk was under siege by the Syrian government.
Hundreds of Palestinians have fled the camp since the start of the takeover, and tens of thousands during the four years of civil war in Syria.
Tibi said Yarmouk is “another case where the refugees who suffered in the Nakba of 1948 are now suffering again.” Nakba refers to Israel’s attaining of statehood.
On Sunday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah called on the sides not to drag the Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk into Syria’s conflicts.
“We announced more than four years ago that we have not interfered in the internal affairs of any Arab country and therefore we reject any interference in our affairs,” Abbas said during the dedication of a public garden. “We have no relations with what is going on in Syria.”
On Monday, a Palestinian refugee living in Yarmouk, identified as M, told Ynet, “Today I walked through the bombs and sniper fire to feed my children. You have to understand, my neighbor went to get food for his children, was shot by a sniper and died. Today we buried him. That’s how it is here: If you want to feed your children, you need to take your funeral shroud with you. There are snipers on every street, you are not safe anywhere.”