As conditions in Yarmouk worsen, Palestinians have taken stands in solidarity as well as in demand for more action from Palestinian leadership.
Demonstrations organized by Palestinians have erupted in historic Palestine and abroad. The below statement was thrown from rooftops in down town Ramallah on January 11, by an anonymous group blaming the PLO for its lack of action towards the Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk that are living under harsh conditions at the moment.
The translation is as follows:
Statement issued from the Palestinian people
Regarding the responsibility of the “leadership” towards what’s happening in The Yarmouk Refugee Camp
We release this statement in light of the harsh conditions of which the Yarmouk Refugee Camp is currently undergoing due to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) abandonment of its legal responsibility towards the camp and its population. Also, the failure of the organization to take serious steps towards saving the camp, which lead to the martyrdom of more than 40 individuals so far as a result of starvation; we, as Palestinians direct this statement to the Palestinian Liberation Organization holding it completely responsible to the current occurrences that our people face in the Yarmouk Camp. As the organization is the one liable for the Palestinian refugee camps in Palestine and in the diaspora, we demand the following:
First: The neutralization of the camps from the ongoing conflict in Syria, and to work on returning the camp to its former state as it was before the influx of militia. Moreover, to not participate with any side in the conflict as we have deep faith in the freedom of the people to decide their own fate.
Second: To place pressure on all factions in order to find an appropriate tactic to open the crossings to allow the entry of food and medicine to our besieged people in the Yarmouk Camp as well as simultaneously working on an arrangements for a permanent solution for the Camp.
Third: We deplore the PLO’s negligence in performing its duties and fulfilling its responsibility, considering it (as it claims to be) the legitimate representation of the Palestinian people, we also reject the provided justifications and excuses in their entirety. We accuse the organization with its obvious dereliction and demand that it invests all its energy into helping the Palestinian people in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp. We also demand that the organization stray away from the meetings held in luxurious hotels that aim to procrastinate and stall fixing the situation of the camp.
It would be more worthwhile, if the active leaders in the PLO work towards fulfilling the rights of the people rather than bargaining them. The choice to pursue the negotiating approach comes at the expense of regaining unity as a national priority and therefore, it must reevaluate its absurd negotiating course. It must return the choice to the people, by choosing new representatives in a new Palestinian National Council that works within the framework of resistance.
We reiterate that the Palestinian Authority takes the majority of the responsibility of what’s happening in the camp. More specifically, in light of the current political situation and the negotiation sphere, we hold it liable in terms of bargaining the rights of Palestinians and the pitched layout for a final solution negating the right of return. We guarantee that the refugee’s right to return cannot be toppled in negotiations sessions. This statement comes to warn the PLO and the Palestinian leadership of the consequences to accompany its responsibility towards the Palestinian cause and its people. Let it be a declaration of the people’s escalation to place pressure on those that have occupied the decisions making positions. To those that had the power to prevent the humanitarian crisis that befell the Yarmouk Refugee Camp, however chose to bargain the blood of our people in the camps. We do not acknowledge your forged legitimacy, and instead we expose you in front of the people in the motherland and the diaspora.
Perform your duties or dismiss yourselves. The blood of the nation within the refugees in Yarmouk will arbitrate you.
Following the release of the statement, several Palestinian youth attempted to shut down the PLO headquarters in Ramallah as a mean to place more pressure on the leadership to provide genuine efforts towards enhancing the conditions in the camp. The action came as a request from youth from the Yarmouk refugee camp itself.
After the shutdown was staged on January 12, the youth were stalked by Palestinian Authority forces and threatened with arrest. One of the demonstrators was a Palestinian holding a Jerusalem ID card that was confiscated for a short period of time after his car was stalked and stopped in downtown Ramallah. According to the youth present at the scene, he was threatened by PA forces that the Israeli intelligence will deal with him whilst the PA intelligence will deal with the Palestinian youth holding the West Bank ID’s that were at the shut down.
As told by Palestinian activists at the shut down, if the Palestinian Authority continues on this destructive path and does not perform its duties as the representation for the Palestinian people, including the refugees, it may as well close.