Thursday, January 25, 2007

Palestinians Under Pressure to Leave Iraq

Washington Post Foreign Service
By Jonathan Partlow

BAGHDAD, Jan. 24 - The shouting in his Baghdad apartment building woke Luay Mohammed seconds before intruders broke down his door. The men, some wearing police uniforms, entered before dawn demanding identification cards, Mohammed recalled. They tore the doors off the closet, threw the television on the floor and hauled Mohammed and his two barefoot brothers outside to be blindfolded. They and 14 other men were taken to what they thought was a government office, where a man others kept calling "sir" spoke to their huddled group...

To see the full article please click on the title

Justin Alexander sent this comment to the NCF on the plight of Palestinians in Iraq

The Palestinian community in Baghdad is suffering many attacks as a result of the climate of suspicion against non-Iraqis. This is likely to get even worse during the coming US surge because their main neighbourhood, Baladiat, is on the edge of Sadr City. As they are refugees without passports (although most were born in Baghdad) they are unable to leave Iraq, and because they have no family living in other parts of the country they are essentially trapped in Baghdad. A few have escape to Jordan and Syria in the past few years, but those borders are now completely closed to them and almost 500 Palestinians are suck in camps on the borders which do not have room to accommodate any newcomers.

I got to know many Palestinians during my time in Baghdad with UNAMI and they are aware of the warm reception other minority groups such as Christians have received in Kurdistan. Indeed I understand that President Talabani made a public offer last year for Palestinians in Baghdad to come to Kurdistan, after he talked with President Abbas about their plight. Our hope is that with the support of the KRG they could be evacuated to a safe region of Kurdistan where UNHCR (who are unable to access them in Baghdad) would then be able to provide for them and arrange for their resettlement abroad. A safe evacuation of up to 10,000 Palestinians would require close coordination between the KRG, UNHCR, US and the Palestinian community.

1 comment:

William said...

These poor people are stranded. The NCF will try and think of a way to help - though it sure is difficult to think of a solution