* * * NOT SATIRE * * * Abbas thanked the Iraqi government for its treatment of the Palestinians
Posted by musliminsuffer on April 6, 2009
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
* * * NOT SATIRE * * *
Abbas thanked the Iraqi government for its treatment of the Palestinians
CAMPBELL ROBERTSON, NYTimes
April 5, 2009
Palestinians Are Top Topic in Abbas Visit to Baghdad
BAGHDAD — Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, visited Iraq for the first time since the American invasion in 2003, meeting with Iraqi leaders on Sunday to garner support for the Palestinian leadership and Iraq’s Palestinian community.
The latest in a long line of Arab leaders who have come to Iraq to show encouragement for the Iraqi government, Mr. Abbas met with the president, Jalal Talabani, and the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, in Baghdad. Among the issues they discussed were financial assistance for the Palestinians, preferential prices on crude oil and political support in the Palestinian leadership’s dealings with Israel, said Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari.
They also discussed the status and resettlement possibilities of the 2,300 Palestinians stranded in two refugee camps on the Iraq-Syria border.
Mr. Zebari said that the Iraqi leaders assured Mr. Abbas that they would support his government in substantial, and not just symbolic, ways.
“Gone are those days when Iraq and other countries used to use the Palestinian issue for political bargaining or score settling,” Mr. Zebari said.
Saddam Hussein awarded special privileges to Palestinians in Iraq, including free homes in middle-class neighborhoods and secure government jobs, to bolster his reputation as a leader of the Arabs and a fighter against Western oppression. But Iraq’s Palestinians, who numbered about 60,000 in 2003, faced bloody reprisals at the hands of Shiite militias after Mr. Hussein’s downfall. Now there are about 11,000 Palestinians in Iraq, most of them in Baghdad’s Baladiyat neighborhood, a majority Shiite area, said Daniel Endres, head of the Iraq office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Nevertheless, saying that the government had taken steps to address their problems, Mr. Abbas thanked the Iraqi leadership for its treatment of the Palestinians.
“The Iraqi government considers them as part of the Iraqi people and part of the government’s concern and a part of Iraqi security,” he said. “We are sure they are in safe hands.”
Also on Sunday, the United States military said that an American soldier had been charged with murder in the shooting death of a foreign contractor in Taji, an area north of Baghdad where a large base is located. The soldier, Pfc. Carl T. Stovall III, 25, of Kennesaw, Ga., has been in custody since March 26, the day of the shooting, the military said in a statement. No further details were released.
Attacks continued around Iraq on Sunday. In Samarra, north of Baghdad, a police officer was killed and four others were wounded when someone threw a Molotov cocktail into their vehicle, local security officials said. A police major in Falluja was killed by a roadside bomb that exploded as his patrol was passing.
In the violent city of Mosul, gunmen killed one civilian and wounded another, and a child was killed by a roadside bomb, Iraqi security officials said.
Alissa J. Rubin contributed reporting.
Palestinian Refugees in Iraq: Missing Protection
Since the beginning of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Palestinian refugees living in the country are subject to an organized campaign of violence, persecution, and repression led by militias, sectarian groups, Iraqi security forces and US occupation troops. The oppressive acts perpetrated under this campaign against Palestinians came, as mentioned in several reports prepared by relevant international organizations, in multiple forms: expulsion from residential areas and homes, imprisonment, torture and even liquidation. This tragic situation led a number of Palestinians either to flee the country and seek asylum in other countries, including neighboring ones, or find shelter in camps on the borders with neighboring countries where they live under harsh and inhuman conditions. Those who stayed in Iraq lack any personal, social and psychological safety. They live in constant fear. Despite the efforts of concerned international organizations urging Iraqi government to provide proper protection to Palestinian refugees living in the country, and the numerous official Palestinian appeals addressing Iraqi government and Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, to stop this campaign; the awful situation of Palestinians in Iraq remains the same.
Most estimates indicate that of the 35,000 Palestinians present in Iraq in 2003, only 15,000 remain in the country nowadays.
Hundreds of Palestinian refugees, who fled Iraq in search of a secure refuge in neighboring countries, live in a bunch of temporary camps inside these countries or are stranded on the borders with Iraq:
UNRWA and UNHCR work together to run the two camps and provide basic humanitarian aid for refugees. The Syrian government as well, along with some Syrian and Palestinian NGOs operating in Syria, provided both camps with several kinds of services. UNRWA has issued temporary registration cards for those refugees, but this does not mean they are counted as part of the Palestinian refugees registered before the Syrian General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugees (GAPAR).
To discuss the situation of Palestinian refugees in Iraq and how to provide them with proper protection, A’idoun Group (Syria/Lebanon) organized on the 5th of March a one-day workshop under the theme “Palestinian Refugees in Iraq: Missing Protection,” supported by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in Lebanon and University of Damascus. The workshop, held at Rida Said Conference Center – University of Damascus, gathered around 120 participants coming from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq to represent different international organizations concerned with this issue (UNHCR, UNRWA, Refugees Affairs Department in the Palestine Liberation Organization (Jordan and Lebanon), the Syrian General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees (GAPAR), the Iraqi Network for Culture of Human Rights and Development, the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (Bethlehem/Palestine), the Norwegian People’s Aid, the Coordination Forum of Palestinian NGO’s working in Palestinian refguee communities in Lebanon, in addition to other civil society organizations and activists from Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.
Below are the papers and presentations made during the three sessions of the workshop:
During the workshop, participants had the chance to listen to live and touching testimonies about the suffering of Palestinians in Iraq, made by people who managed to escape from the living hell of Iraq and arrive in Syria.
The last session, during which the “A’idoun Group” paper was presented, was dedicated to a general discussion among participants in order to draw conclusions and put forward some recommendations based on this paper and other ones. The discussion revolved around two main points: first, the current tragic situation of Palestinians in Iraq in comparison with their situation before the U.S. occupation; and second, the ways to protect them and the meaning of the temporary protection they need urgently and pressingly, without prejudice to their inalienable right of return to the homes they were expelled from in 1948. In fact, this temporary protection must be provided while putting in mind that those Palestinians constitute an integral part of the whole Palestinian refugees and Diaspora who hold to their right of return guaranteed by the principles of the International Law and all UN relevant resolutions, namely resolution № 194.
I. The current situation compared to the previous one
Before 2003, Palestinian refugees in Iraq enjoyed an acceptable status of social, economic, and cultural rights. Successive Iraqi governments granted Palestinians residential units, job opportunities, education and health care with some constraints on their right to property. Some people tend to compare the situation of Palestinians living in Iraq to the situation of those living in Syria. In 1956, the Syrian parliament passed law № 260 on the necessity to treat Palestinian refugees on the same footing as Syrian citizens regarding their rights to work, recruitment, trade and free businesses, education, health services, and even military services, without compromising their right to maintain their Palestinian nationality. In this context, one should mention resolution № 202 promulgated by the Iraqi Revolution Leadership Council in 2001 calling for equality between Palestinians living in Iraq and Iraqi citizens with respect to all the rights Iraqis enjoy with the exception of the right to acquire Iraqi nationality.
II. The recquired protection: meaning and limits
Participants in the workshop agreed on the description and diagnosis of the situation of Palestinians in Iraq. They also agreed on a number of general recommendations on how to deal with this situation. However, their opinions diverged as to the meaning and limits of the preferred temporary protection and the solutions involved. The opinions they expressed can be summarized as follows:
In this respect, the director of the Syrian General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees, related to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, made clear that Syria does not want to be the only one to apply a solution based on hosting the Palestinians of Iraq. However, it supports any collective Arab decision under the framework of the Arab League, agreed upon by hosting Arab countries.
III. General recommendations and suggestions
First, participants in the workshop held the Iraqi government, the militias connected to it and, of course, the US occupation troops, responsible for the suffering of Palestinians in Iraq and Iraqi civilians. In fact, these authorities must ensure first and foremost the protection of civilians during war, according to the principles of the International Humanitarian Law, and more specifically the 1949 Geneva Convention and its Additional Protocols of 1977 concerning the protection of armed conflict victims.
Participants stressed on the following points:
Finally, for the recommendations of this workshop not to go unheeded, the A’idoun Group (Syria/Lebanon) supports the establishment of a follow-up committee gathering a number of active organizations in this workshop. This committee shall adopt the recommendations concluded in this report as its general framework as of the moment it starts to function.
Bodies of Iraqi Palestinians murdered by the Mahdy army
:: Article nr. 53179 sent on 06-apr-2009 02:16 ECT
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