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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05BAGHDAD4232 2005-10-15 05:59:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

19 IRAQI PALESTINIANS IN NO MAN'S LAND AT AL

Tags:   PREF KPAL PHUM PINS IZ JO SY KCRS 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 004232 

SIPDIS

CAIRO FOR REFCOORD GERARD CHEYNE
AMMAN FOR REFCOORD CLAIRE KANESHIRO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/12/2015
TAGS: PREF KPAL PHUM PINS IZ JO SY KCRS
SUBJECT: 19 IRAQI PALESTINIANS IN NO MAN'S LAND AT AL
WALEED FORESHADOW FURTHER FLIGHTS

REF: KANESHIRO-HILL EMAIL OF 10/10/2005

Classified By: Counselor for Political Affairs Robert S.
Ford for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

Summary
-------



1. (C) Summary. Christian Peacemakers Team (CPT) told
RefCoord and PolOff that the 19 Palestinians in the No
Man's Land between the Iraqi and Syrian land borders fled
because of an upsurge in abuse of Palestinians by the ITG
and the general public. CPT was unable to provide specific
details on alleged incidents. RefCoord cautioned CPT that
resettlement outside of Syria is unlikely. More of Iraq's
23,000 Palestinians may try to flee by the same route,
especially if the 19 are successful in getting into Syria.
End Summary.

(C) From Baghdad to Al Waleed


--------------------------





2. (C) On October 11, Beth Pyles of Christian Peacemakers
Team (CPT) discussed the plight of the 19 Palestinians
currently located in the No Man's Land between the Iraqi
and Syrian land borders with RefCoord and PolOff. The
group includes 7 men, 5 women, and 7 children between the
ages of 1 and 13. CPT members accompanied these
Palestinians from Baghdad across Al Anbar province to the
Al Waleed border point. They did not encounter any
military along the road to the border as their route passed
to the South of the Western Euphrates River Valley
operation that was ongoing at the time. The group
subsequently obtained tents and has been camping between
the borders for about a week. The Syrians have to date
refused to admit the Palestinians. Per the Amman RefCoord,
UNRWA and UNHCR Syria are engaging the SARG on this issue
(ref).

(C) Motivation for the Move


--------------------------





3. (C) According to Pyles, an alleged recent increase in
abuse was the last straw motivating these Palestinians to
decide they could no longer stay in Iraq. Pyles said the
group felt they were better off anywhere else, and they
were not prepared to delay their trip to investigate
available alternatives. Pyles said the Palestinians have
no one to turn to for help since UNHCR relocated to Amman.
PolOff requested specific details about the dates,
circumstances, and victims of the alleged abuse, which
Pyles was unable to provide. Post will seek to meet with
Palestinian representatives to obtain more precise
information about these as-yet unsubstantiated reports of
abuse (septel).



4. (SBU) A UNHCR note to the file dated October 13 states
that the reason for the move is reported to be intimidation
and growing pressure against the Plestinains in Baghdad.
According to information available to UNHCR, Palestinians
have been targeted by state and non-state actors since the
fall of the former regime and suffer increasingly difficult
conditions including harassment, physical attacks, and
murders, arbitrary detention, gun shooting in their houses,
false accusations in the media, kidnapping, as well as
additional difficulties resulting from their uncertain
legal status in Iraq.

(SBU) Anywhere But Iraq


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Pyles indicated that the group was interested in a
durable solution outside of Iraq. Pyles said the group had
heard favorable reports about life for Palestinians in
Syria. However, she acknowledged that, if they are allowed
into Syria, these Palestinians will probably approach UNHCR
about resettlement. RefCoord advised Pyles that UNHCR
Syria and UNRWA are the proper authorities to assist these
Palestinians, and they are already engaged on the issue.
RefCoord also cautioned Pyles that resettlement outside of
Syria is unlikely, as no country has yet been willing to
accept the similarly-situated Palestinians currently in the
Ruweished refugee camp in Jordan.

(SBU) Foreshadowing Future Flights


--------------------------





6. (SBU) Pyles mentioned that the Iraqi Palestinians at the
border are in phone contact with an unknown number of
others who had planned to make the trip but changed their
minds at the last minute due to security concerns. These
individuals reportedly regret the decision to stay behind,
and intend to follow at a later date.



7. (SBU UNHCR's October 13 Note to the File indicates
that UNAMI Baghdad has suggested talking points to the SRSG
to raise with the Prime Minister of Iraq the situation of
the 19 Palestinians blocked at the Iraqi-Syrian border and
call for urgent action to protect the Palestinian community
to stop them from leaving Iraq. According to the note, the
matter will also be pursued by UNAMI Humanitarian and Human
Rights Offices with various ministries in Iraq.

(SBU) Comment


--------------------------





8. (C) Begin comment: If UNHCR Syria and UNRWA succeed in
convincing the SARG to admit these 19 Palestinians, others
are likely to follow in their footsteps. Unless the SARG
is willing to tolerate a steady flow of new Palestinian
refugees, we may soon face the same sort of humanitarian
crisis we previously faced with the Al Tash Iranian Kurds
and Iraqi Palestinians stuck in the No Man's Land between
Iraq and Jordan. RefCoord will consult with UNAMI, UNHCR
Iraq, and MODM's Office of Palestinian Affairs to explore
protection concerns of this vulnerable population (septel).
Khalilzad