An Appeal For Immediate Protection And Aid For The Palestinians in Iraq
Facing another Nakba and living another chapter of banishment and dehumanization, the Palestinians in Iraq are passing through one of the most ruthless period since their 1948 Diaspora, deprived from any kind of protection both on the local and international levels.
Around 40,000 Palestinian refugees living in Iraq are the new victims of the liberation forces and the liberal new regime. From killing to threats, kidnapping, humiliation, imprisonment, forced house evacuation and extremely discriminating and menacing treatment, helpless waves of Palestinians are desperately trying to flee this inhuman reality seeking shelter in the surrounding countries mainly Jordan and Syria, yet to be faced by another tragedy.
Since the Americans invaded Iraq the attitude towards the Palestinians became characterized by harsh hostility and brutal assaults against innocent people, under unfounded accusations for being collaborators with the remnants of the old regime. Consequently attacks were justified and intensified. According to the Palestinian Human Rights Organization (Rased), Palestinians were the target of 662 armed attacks killing 186 people among them five women and seven children. Even the Palestinian Embassy was not spared and was assaulted three times while the attaché was imprisoned for one year.
From another side a series of unfair procedures were taken by the Iraqi authorities that compounded the problem:
1- All permanent and temporary residence permits were annulled and a law was passed obliging every single Palestinian to show up in front the concerned authority every three months, the whole family must be there even babies and aged people no matter sick or disabled, any delay means a fine of 10 Dinars.
2- No more travel documents to be issued except under extremely difficult conditions that only few people were able to fulfill.
3- Identity documents for the new born babies were stopped since 2003. Also no new documents for those who lost or had their documents destroyed. Hence a lot of Palestinians are without identity papers exposed in a country like Iraq to harsh punishment since due to security reasons this is considered a severe crime.
4- Deprivation from any kind of human international aid sent to Iraq
5- Obstruction of movement inside Iraq and prevention from travel.
6- Arbitrary dismissal from work, leaving a lot of families with no resources.
All such measures and more are obviously unconcealed acts violating all ethical norms and human rights and are direct threats against the lives of thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians.
Although millions of Iraqis were received in both Jordan and Syria, Palestinians were denied same kind of treatment. In 2004 Jordan gave entry permission to a number of 386 persons married to Jordanians while Syria accepted a number of 256 in May 2006.
However, due to the continuous harassment and lack of security in Iraq many Palestinians took the risk of fleeing the country but found themselves stranded at the SyrianIraqi border living inside tents under extremely difficult conditions completely abandoned by the outside world, while their number is increasing every day.
With victimized children, women and old people those refugees are in drastic situation in need for every kind of possible aid to enable them endure the harsh life in a lifeless desert that might continue for a long time. Moreover, we ask all our friends, solidarity groups with the Palestinian people and human rights organizations to expose this reality to the public opinion, bring this catastrophe into light and put pressure on their governments to find a quick and fair resolution for this inhuman condition.
It is worth mentioning here that Palestinians in Iraq were never included under the UNRWA umbrella, as Iraqi previous authorities always refused this demand and kept the Palestinians under its direct responsibility. Nevertheless, due to the present situation the UNRWA is requested to find a viable solution for those people.
Who’s responsible for protecting the Palestinian refugees in Iraq? The UNHCR since 2003 and right after the fall of the old regime had continuously declared that such protection is the responsibility of the allied forces lead by the United States and the Iraqi government.
No matter how much aid might be send, the Arab Governments are requested to keep the borders open to receive those people, while Israel is responsible for the 1967 refugees and they must be allowed to return either to Gaza or the West Bank.
Refugees living near the Syrian/Iraqi border are in great need for urgent aid, they need daily supplies of food, water, medicines, milk for children, diapers for babies etc
The non-governmental organizations in Lebanon are moving fast and doing their best to deliver whatever supplies they can get for those stranded people. We need your support to keep on delivering daily supplies. Your support will certainly make a difference.
Contributions can be sent to Beit Atfal Assumoud on the following account:
First National Bank
Immobilita Bldg. Hamra St.
Beirut Lebanon P.O. Box 113-5453
National Institution for Social Care & Vocational Training
Account Number 001-106845-002
Swift No FINKLBBE