[The following statement was issued by the Palestinian Youth Movement on 6 May 2013.]
The Camps Are Above the Siege
In general, the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, and particularly Yarmouk camp, formed as the capital of the diaspora, are among the largest groups of Palestinian refugees and have been the starting point for many resistance operations, fueling the Palestinian revolution in its various stages and sacrificing many lives for Palestine. The last demonstration of resistance to their just cause was shown with their bodies alone during the commemorations of al Nakba and al Naksa at the border of the occupied Golan heights between Syria and Palestine, with eagerness for their stolen land, carrying with them the keys of return to their homes from before the brutal Zionist occupation that they were forced to flee. The enemy opened fire, and the bullets brought down many young martyrs, undeterred by the enemy`s threats.
Under the tense and disastrous circumstances in Syria, the camps have shared a large portion of what is happening as a result and it has led to the displacement and dispersion of many Palestinian families as well as their fleeing to different places within Syria, to neighboring countries, and European countries, effectively repeating the tragedy of Nakba once again to the very details, and in even worse conditions than before in light of a worsening Arab climate preoccupied with their own internal affairs. Further, the PLO has ignored any responsibility it has toward our Palestinian people present in the camps, without even minor levels of communication with the stakeholders of this situation to even mildly alleviate this tragedy.
For months, the Palestinian people have suffered numerous partial sieges and blockades imposed to prevent the entrance of aid and relief; they have limited access to food and medicine and prevented the wounded and injured from seeking medical treatment outside, having lost medical supplies at hospitals within. In these past days, a full siege has been imposed on Yarmouk camp, which positions potential for a human catastrophe and which is threatening the lives of our families and brothers and sisters trapped inside.
We in the Palestinian Youth Movement reject and condemn the policy of collective punishment against our steadfast families, brothers, and sisters in the camps and we call on all concerned international actors, and UNRWA in particular, to exercise its role and fulfill its duty of providing relief to the Palestinian refugees. Furthermore, we call upon the PLO to declare of a state of emergency and intensify its efforts and pressure to lift this blockade, for the claim of legitimacy and representation is not just a slogan to chant as they please, but a responsibility to its people.
As the sixty-fifth commemoration of the Nakba approaches, we recognize that the tragedy of al Nakba is carried on as part of our daily lives and rests on the shoulders of our brothers and sisters in the camps in unparalleled ways. Yet they remain steadfast as always and will remain the foundation of the Palestinian experience, and the meaning and basis of representation is lost if it does not represent the nucleus of its people, especially in the worst and most difficult of conditions.