In Defence of Iraq’s Palestinians! (updated)

Welcome to Baqa’a Refugee Camp

The following organisations and campaigners (see signatures below), are concerned by the plight being faced by Palestinian refugees inside of occupied Iraq. We are calling upon the international solidarity movements with the Arab peoples, to immediately condemn and take action against the brutality and further dispossession of Iraq’s Palestinian community.

“Iraq’s Palestinians are another forgotten tragedy in the predictable carnage the US/UK’s criminal, illegal invasion has wrought. There are those who fled Palestine after the British led formation of Israel in 1948, ousted from ancestral homes, fleeing just with keys, deeds and what they could carry“…“Others, their children and grandchildren, born in exile.” (Iraq’s Liberated Palestinians by Felicity Arbuthnot, 7/10/2006)

Ma’an News agency reported on the 18/1/2007, that figures from the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), claim in the year of 2006, an estimated 536 Palestinian refugees had either been reported missing or found dead inside of Iraq.

There have also been an increasing amount of reports, that Palestinian refugees are being directly targeted and ethnically cleansed by rogue death squads, with some reports claiming that the forced dispersal of Iraq’s Palestinian community, has come with the support of the countries US/UK backed government.

The Palestine Free Voice reported on the 22/1/2007 that, “roaming death squads are besieging the Baladiyat neighbourhood in Baghdad, in preparations to commit massacres against Palestinian refugees, similar to the massacres that were executed by the Zionist Ariel Sharon and the Lebanese commander Elias Hobeica in Sabra and Shatila in 1982.”

As one father described a scene of finding his son, after he was kidnapped and a ransom demanded in Baghdad, “I found his body the next day with many holes in his belly made by a drill.”

International concern was first raised by Astrid Van Genderen Stort, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Geneva, who stated in 2005, “They (Palestinians) have been victims of night raids, arbitrary arrests and torture carried out by Iraqi security forces.”

Condemnation for human rights abuses by the new Iraqi government, has also been raised by Jennifer Pagonis of the UN High Commission for Refugees, who told journalists that Palestinians in Iraq : ‘.. lack protection, have serious problems obtaining identity cards and have been targets of continuing harassment, threats, kidnappings and killings.’ (3/10/2006)

The Sunday Telegraph warned on the 21/1/2007, that predominantly Shi’ite backed “militias are stepping up their campaign to drive out Iraq’s 20,000 remaining Palestinians”, resulting with hundreds of Palestinian families now being forced to live under harsh conditions in refugee camps along the countries border.

We the following organisations and campaigners, are united around the following demands and in a spirit of joint co-operation and solidarity with the Palestinian community of Iraq, we hereby pledge to campaign for the following;

1) An immediate end to the forced-dispersal, detentions, threats and acts of violence against Iraq’s Palestinian community.

2) We recognise that these crimes have arisen, as a direct consequence to the continuing occupation of Iraq and thereby, we reaffirm our commitment to an immediate end to the illegal occupation by “Coalition forces”.

3) We recognise that the Palestinian people were forced to flee to Iraq, as a direct consequence of the creation of the state of Israel and hereby support the Palestinian people, in their right of return, as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

4) We are opposed to the pauperisation of the countries Palestinian population and we thereby call upon the worlds social, national, labour and progressive movement’s, to help the Palestinian Diaspora by means of financial assistance.

In solidarity with the Palestinian people:

Welcome to Baqa’a Refugee Camp
Uruknet.info (Italy)
The Iraq Solidarity Campaign (UK and Iraq)
The Middle East Cultural Association (UK, Palestine, Jordan)
Felicity Arbuthnot (British based journalist and Iraq expert)
The BRussells Tribunal
Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
Mundo Arabe (Argentina)
The Palestine Free Voice
Debbie Hilal, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK)
Arab Media Watch (UK)
Michael Letwin, NYC Labor Against the War (USA)
Iraq Committee for National Media and Culture
General Union of Palestinian Students
Viva Palestyna (Poland)
Campaign Against Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (Spain)
Iraq Occupation Focus (UK)
The Jassim Appeal (UK)

If you, your campaign or organisation, wish to endorse this declaration and pledge to unite in support of the following demands, then please contact baqaarefugeecamp@yahoo.co.uk

If you wish to pledge your support through a financial donation from the UK or Europe, please instruct your bank to transfer funds to the following:

Peace Tree/The Middle East Cultural Association
Sort Code: 162033. Account Number: 10056047
Receiving bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC.

You can also donate to the tax-deductible Al-Awda Emergency Appeal, by using your credit card online. This can be done by going to http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and by following simple the instructions.Please note that your donation is for the “Iraq Emergency” appeal.

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