An Islamist news portal has announced that the “Palestinian community in Britain” has launched what is described as an unprecedented initiative to aid Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus. According to a report on the Middle Eastern Monitor website:
07 January 2014 The Palestinian community in Britain has announced the start of an unprecedented initiative to aid Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus.
About 20,000 Palestinians are currently trapped in the Yarmouk camp and suffering under an extreme siege. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees has not been able to deliver any humanitarian aid to those in need inside the camp since last September.
The UK-based initiative was disclosed during a meeting of the Palestine Forum. Attending the Forum were Deputy Secretary of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council Dr Sabri Saidam, head of the British Muslim Initiative Muhammad Sawalha and other prominent members of the Palestinian community in the UK, as well as representatives from the Palestine embassy in London.
The attendees represented the Palestinian political spectrum and have decided to form a special committee to plan for the initiative’s activities, which will include sending aid to the affected families in the Yarmouk refugee camp and highlighting their suffering to the world.
Read the rest here.
The presence of Hamas activist and UK Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Sawalha is not surprising. The Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) has published a profile of Sawalha, describing him as follows:
Muhammad Kazem Sawalha is a senior Hamas activist who publicly supports jihad and was formerly involved in both political and operational Hamas activities in Judea and Samaria, including running the terrorist operative infrastructure. He was wanted by the Israeli security services but in October 1990 used forced documents to escape to Jordan, and from there went to Britain. In Britain he has been involved in intensive anti-Israeli activities within the Islamic community, with the Muslim Brotherhood and with British organizations providing support for the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.
The ITIC profiles also details Sawalha’s ties to the U.K Muslim Brotherhood.
The large Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp is located outside Damascus and was recently the scene of heavy fighting involving various factions in the Syrian civil war. A December 2012 BBC profile explained how Yarmouk became a Hamas center in Syria:
In addition to banishing the PLO’s leadership, the Syrian government came to see Yarmouk as an opposition stronghold and also arrested thousands of Arafat supporters. Afterwards, residents began to concentrate on commercial, rather than political and military activities. This resulted in Yarmouk becoming a centre of commerce in Damascus, and today tens of thousands of Syrians live and work there. With the PLO’s relations with the Syrian government strained, the Palestinian Islamist movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad sought to fill the political power vacuum in Yarmouk. Leaders from both groups moved in and recruited scores of youths to their causes. Hamas’s political leader Khaled Meshaal lived in Yarmouk until he refused to endorse President Bashar al-Assad’s handling of the uprising against his rule. Once the Hamas Political Bureau had relocated to Egypt and Qatar in early 2012, they declared their wholehearted support of the Syrian opposition.
The GMBDW reported in November of 2013 on the Winter aid convoy to the Yarmouk Camp scheduled that time for launch by the European Al-Wafaa campaign, an organization close to the Hamas infrastructure in Europe. In October 2013 , Palestinian media published an article with the title “European Institutions Express Deep Concern Over Catastrophic Situation in Yarmouk Refugee Camp.” However, every one of the 20 “European institutes” identified are known to be part of the Hamas support network in Europe, including the “European Initiative to Lift settlements and the wall”, headed by European Hamas leader Amin Abou Rashed.
This new UK initiative to aid Palestinians in Syria appears to be part of the growing pattern of Global Muslim Brotherhood involvement in the Syrian civil war. The GMBDW additionally reported yesterday on the Syrian Emergency Taskforce (SETF) a group with close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood. The GMBDW had reported extensively in 2013 on the Syrian National Coalition an opposition group which included members from the Syrian National Council (SNC), an earlier group that was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Our predecessor publication had also identified three SNC leaders that were tied to the US Muslim Brotherhood as well as pointing out that Ghassan Hito, chosen by the Syrian National Coalition as its interim Prime Minister, was also part of the US Muslim Brotherhood. The SNC and Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi also enjoyed close relations.