Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas issued a firm message about the situation in Syria to the world media today, in a bold attempt to bring the world media focus back to his cause. “It’s time for the legitimate and democratically elected Syrian government of Bashar-al-Assad to restore law and order to their country, and for the terrorists who oppose him to put down their weapons and accept his authority”, he said.
Abbas and the Palestinian community have been increasingly concerned about the “disproportionate” attention given to the Syrian crisis, which has pushed the Palestinian cause off the international news cycle. “This disproportionate UN focus on these minor skirmishes in Syria is not good for the Palestinian people”, Abbas said in his statement. This was a stark shift in policy for Abbas, since according to the Palestinian Authority marketing style guide, the word ‘disproportionate’ itself must only ever be used to refer to Israel. As tens or even hundreds of people are being murdered daily in Syria, pressure is gathering in the UN for serious action. There have already been several UN resolutions regarding Syria, which has pushed the rate of resolutions directed at Israel to a five-year low. “This misdirection against the major problem in the Middle-East cannot continue”, Abbas said.
When queried about the daily killings of civilian protesters in Syria, Abbas was resolute: “How can you talk to me about explosions in hotels and civilian deaths in Syria when illegal settlements like Migron are debated in the Israeli legal system and are still allowed to remain standing? These ‘settlers’ are living quietly on what is clearly Palestinian land and subverting the Oslo peace process. That is the real barrier to peace in the entire Middle East!”
Australians for Palestine leader Vashti “my name is not a Purim joke” Kenway was especially annoyed by the events in Syria. “We had a stack of protests scheduled for February, March and April, but all anyone wants to talk about now is Syria, Syria, Syria. I’m mean; really! This Arab Spring has thrown all of our marketing plans into disarray. It’s a tragedy of global proportions!”
The death toll in Syria in the last few months is estimated as more than 7500, which is a similar number to the death toll in the Israel-Palestinian conflict since 2000. Compared with other majors conflicts in the modern era, the total death count in the Arab-Israeli conflict ranks 49th (but who’s counting).