Heard in Europe

Never take Benjamin Netanyahu seriously. If you do, you’ll end up believing that the Palestinians are really ISIS, and that all Arab guerrillas share the same politics. Not to mention, subscribe to the same version of Islam. Nothing, of course could be further from the truth. It requires an incredible amount of naiveté to take such conflations seriously. Still, the Israeli prime minister, and his echo chambers, continue to insist on such, if only to score points against the Palestinians, in their endless war for foreign opinion. Particularly in Brussels, and of course Washington, two political centres increasingly disinterested in the premier’s politics.

This photograph, taken in Place du Luxembourg on Friday, highlights the ridiculousness of the ISIS-Palestinian equation. Protesting the presence of ISIS forces in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus, the banner is a poignant reminder of the fact that though ISIS are easily qualified as fundamentalists, the Palestinians view them as enemies. Occupiers, in fact, of one of the bleakest and most despair-driven refugee camps in the world. Leave it to the Arab Khmer Rouge, to give the Palestinians an opportunity to defend themselves.

A neutral position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not normally ascribed to the EU. Generally derided as more pro-Arab than pro-Israeli, the new crisis, between ISIS and the Palestinians, is enough to make policymakers’ heads hurt. It’s not just the Palestinian conflict with Israel that must be contended with now, but also a growing conflict with one of the most extreme religious movements in the Islamic world. This may not be a new crisis to Palestinians, of course, accustomed to being unwelcome in many Arab states. But ISIS offers an opportunity for the EU to take seriously how grim their homelessness has become.

The next time that Europeans worry about ISIS attacking Paris, or Berlin, perhaps EU officials might consider the war the organisation is waging against far more vulnerable communities, closer to home.

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  1. You should explain more accuratly who among Palestinians are Sunni and who are Chias. Hezbollah is Chia but ISIS is Sunni. They are separated by some kilometers only and Yarmouk could be either in an aera or in another. An recording of a leila Chahid’sinterview was broadcasted on a French radio some days ago. But she is catholic! What a mess

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