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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06BAGHDAD979 2006-03-24 15:52:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

BAGHDAD PALESTINIANS RETURN TO IRAQ, BUT MORE

Tags:   PREF KPAL PHUM PINS KCRS IZ PA JO 
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1. (C) Summary. On March 22, Iraqi Ministry of Interior
Border Officials escorted the 88 Palestinians (note: not
89) out of the No Man's Land (NML) between the Iraqi and
Jordanian border (ref A) and back into Iraqi territory.
The Palestinians are now located in Trebil close to the
border in Anbar. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Human Rights
Organization president reported March 21 that three more
busloads were planning to depart to either the Syrian or
Jordanian border within the next week. We have asked the
Palestinian Charge and Palestinian human rights
organization to urge the community not to flee to the
borders. Post has also alerted the Iraq Security Forces
(ISF) and MNF-I as to the precarious security situation
that exists in Baghdad for Palestinians. ISF
representatives were non-committal but open to requests for
security. Despite these efforts, we believe more
Palestinians will seek to leave Baghdad to the Syrian and
Jordanian borders, especially in light of recent death
threat letters reportedly received by 120 Baghdad
Palestinians families March 23. End Summary.



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PALESTINIANS NO LONGER IN NO MAN'S LAND


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2. (C) On March 22, UNHCR as well as Palestinian
representatives reported to AmEmbassy Amman and AmEmbassy
Baghdad that Iraqi MoI officials had peaceably moved the 88
Palestinians from the NML to the border town of Trebil (al
Anbar province). The UNHCR further reported that 88
Palestinians were in fact in the camp and not 89. The
families are reportedly safe in an MoI barracks shelter and
are awaiting receipt of additional assistance that the
UNCHR is attempting to coordinate.



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MORE PALESTINIANS POSITIONED TO LEAVE TO BORDERS


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3. (C) Human Rights Organization President Muhammed Abid
Mutlak Mowsiq and Deputy Said Mustafa told PolOffs March 21
that three more busloads of Baghdad Palestinians were
planning to depart to either the Syrian or Jordanian
borders within the next week. Poloffs urged Mowsiq and
Mustafa to encourage these groups not to flee to the
borders. Mowsiq replied that he did not have the ability
to stop these groups from doing so and emphasized that the
security situation for Palestinians had made staying in
Iraq untenable.



4. (C) Mowsiq further explained that the Baladiat compound
was already adequately protected by MNF-I patrols, but
neither MNF-I nor ISF had the capabilities of protecting
Palestinians every minute of the day. For this reason, he
said, many Palestinians had left their jobs, pulled their
children from local schools, and spent their days confined
in their homes. He also noted that four additional
Palestinians had been killed between March 18 and March 20,
bringing the total death toll to 21 since the Samarra
bombing on February 22.

5.(C) On March 23 UNCHR reported to AmEmbassy Amman and
Baghdad that 120 Palestinians families received death
threat letters that morning from an anonymous source
indicating that the families had 10 days to leave their
homes or be killed. As of late March 23, Poloffs had not
been able to reach Palestinian representatives for
confirmation. These new developments may further induce
Palestinian families to flee Baghdad.



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POST EFFORTS TO DETER FLIGHT


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6. (C) In separate conversations March 22 and 23 with
Minister of Defense Sadoun Duleimi and MoD Acting Chief of
Staff LTG Abadi, Acting PolmilCouns stressed concern for

BAGHDAD 00000979 002 OF 002


Palestinian security and urged that the Palestinian complex
be closely monitored and provided with adequate security.
Acting PolMilCouns also stressed to the MOI Director of
Operations for Border Security the importance of working to
resolve the issues at the border. Both MoI and MoD
officials expressed general openness to these concerns, but
did not provide any commitments. PolmilOff also
highlighted this situation March 23 with Multi-National
Division Baghdad, who took note of these security concerns.



7. (C) In a March 23 phone conversation, PolOff asked the
Palestinian Charge, Dalil Mikael al-Qusous, to encourage
Palestinian communities in Baghdad not to flee to the
borders. The Charge seemed amenable to that request and
even went so far as to say that he would go to the border
to encourage the 88 to return to Baghdad if safe travel was
provided for him.



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COMMENT


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8. (C) Post thanks AmEmbassy Jordan and AmConsul Jerusalem
for their quick responses. Because of the recent death
letters, we believe that further flight from Baghdad is
likely. It is possible that because the 88 Palestinians
were removed from the NML back into Iraq, this may deter
Baghdad Palestinian families from attempting to cross the
Jordanian borders. Groups who want to leave Iraq may
instead choose the Syrian border as a more likely entry
point. Post will continue to monitor this situation.
KHALILZAD