Earlier this week came the news that yet another flotilla was preparing to set to sail seeking to break Israel’s “blockade” of Gaza. This flotilla is set to sail from Lebanon with a unique passenger manifest of doctors, lawyers, journalists, Christians and Muslims The all-women flotilla would also carry a group of nuns and a pregnant woman (see more). There is no mention as to whether the passenger list will include any jihadist cutthroat terrorists from Turkey or whether it will carry out-of-date stock as did the ill-fated Mavi Marmara in May of this year.
The obvious hypocrisy of this venture is nevertheless omnipresent. Here we have a group of women who claim to be concerned with human rights protesting against Israel while ignoring the numerous human rights’ violations by ruling Hamas in Gaza and other despots throughout the Middle East. Women protesting against Israel when studies have shown that since the brutal Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, 77% of women in Gaza face “at least one of several forms of violence at the hands of men” (see more).
And what of violations against women in other parts of the world? In this very week when I have read about 18 year old Bibi, an Afghani woman who had her ears and nose cut off by the Taliban because she attempted to run away from an abusive husband, and of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentence to death by stoning for adultery, I find a group of women protesting against the only true democracy in the Middle East. This is truly bizarre.
But beyond the blatant duplicity is something even more sinister. The spotlight has been on Lebanon for a few weeks now in between the UN tribunal that is investigating the murder of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri (which Hezbollah is trying to now pin on Israel) and the border clash with Israeli soldiers last week. Despite this, there has been a constant question in regard to Lebanon which nobody except for Israeli commentators seem to be asking, what about Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees?
For over thirty years now, more than 300,000 Palestinians in Lebanon have been living under filthy conditions in unsanitary refugee camps. They are restricted from professions such as medicine, law and engineering. They are denied access to health-care, are unable to own property and need a special permit to leave their towns. In a 2007 report Amnesty International stated that various restrictions placed Palestinians in Lebanon puts them “in a situation akin to that of second class citizens and denies them access to their full range of human rights” (see more). To read more analysis of Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees see here and here.
It makes one wonder why the Palestinians in Lebanon are not cared for in the same way as the Palestinians in Gaza. Why is there no movement such as the Free Gaza movement supporting Palestinians in Lebanon? Why is it that the world media, student bodies, academics and others are so obsessed with the Israelis that they continue to ignore what is happening to Palestinians in the rest of the Arab world? (see more).
And how can the world simply accept a flotilla full of women travelling from Lebanon without asking any questions?